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Furious Netizens Storm Twitter Over Murder of Pregnant Elephant Fed With Explosives in Kerala

New Delhi (Sputnik): India is a country where the largest walking mammals on Earth – Elephants – are worshipped as the Hindu god Ganesha. In recent years, the population of elephants in India has significantly declined – leaving just 31,300 around. Despite religious significance, crimes against elephants still prevail in the nation.

Netizens in India have begun to vent their anger after a forest officer Mohan Krishnan posted in southern India’s Kerala revealed on Facebook how a pregnant elephant in the area was fed firecracker-stuffed pineapples by unidentified locals. The explosives burst in the elephant’s mouth causing barbaric injuries, eventually leading to a painful death.

The incident happened near the Silent Valley National Park in Kerala, a state that is often called “God’s Own Land” because of its luscious greenery and picturesque beauty. Krishnan described the deceased elephant as a calm animal, who grew up in that area, trusted the people around and never got into conflicts with humans or other animals.

Speaking to Sputnik, animal rights organisation PETA India (People For the Ethical Treatment of Animals) revealed that elephant had ventured out of the Silent Valley National Park enclosure. Local residents, who try and keep wild animals away from their locality took it upon themselves to get rid of  the animal.

“Officials from the national park are still investigating the case – that happened exactly one week ago. An offence under Section 9 of the Wildlife Protection Act has also been registered, but the culprits remain unknown. The ground investigation for this heinous crime that also comes under ‘hunting’ can only be carried on by forest officials and the punishment for this could be a jail term for up to seven years. Wild, or not wild, such cruelty against animals is unacceptable", Meet Ashar, Associate Manager, Emergency Response Team, PETA India told Sputnik.

Meanwhile, furious netizens have taken over Twitter demanding the state chief of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan, take note of the animal brutality incident and take effective measures to ensure the safety of wildlife in his state. The heart-wrenching last pictures of the injured elephant show her standing alone in the Velliyar River. Officials tried to get her out of the water with two male elephants, but she did not move.

​The forest division has filed a case related to the barbaric killing with the hope that the culprits will be nabbed in a few days.

“The area where the incident happened is outside the Silent Valley forest division so it is outside our jurisdiction. The case has been filed with adjoining forest division. As of now, the culprit/culprits remain unidentified but investigations are underway. The picture is expected to be clearer in the next few days. The elephant was a sub-adult female, aged somewhere between 10-20 years", Samuel Pachuau, Divisional Forest Officer, Silent Valley National Park told Sputnik.

After the postmortem, the remains of the elephant were cremated with a proper funeral ceremony. 

Former minister and parliamentarian Maneka Gandhi stated that Mallapuram in Kerala is known for its intense criminal activity wspecially with regards to animals. "No action has ever been taken against a single poacher or wildlife killer so they keep doing it", Gandhi said.

Cruel instances of elephants being poached for their tusks have often made the headlines in India especially from southern states. In addition, several regions in India, especially those located near wildlife sanctuaries still capture elephants and beat them into submission to give rides to tourists visiting the national parks. The act is prohibited under India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Government records show that at least 80 elephants are killed every year across the country amid rising numbers of cases of human-elephant conflicts. The Environment Ministry has claimed that in the last five years over 2,300 people were also killed by wild elephants.  

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