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A pregnant elephant in Kerala’s Palakkad district died by eating a firecracker-filled pineapple, allegedly placed by local villagers. By Bayar Jain

 

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In India – where elephants are worshipped and the famous Panchatantra, an ancient Indian collection of animal fables came into being – a pregnant elephant died tragically. As per a social media post by Mohan Krishnan, who was part of the response team helping in rescuing the elephant, the gentle mother bit into the pineapple trusting humankind. He further adds on biting into the fruit, the explosives burst in the to-be mother’s mouth, causing grievous injuries and eventual death. Krishnan laments the loss, stating that the jumbo stood in the Velliyar river of Kerala’s Palakkad district peacefully in an attempt to cope with the pain, eventually succumbing to her injuries, post which the remains were cremated in a funeral ceremony.

 

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The reason for this act, however, is still being probed. As per The Indian Expressthe explosives eaten by the elephant were meant as a snare to ward off wild boars and pigs. The report further states that using firecrackers to ward wild animals – and even kill them – is a common practice among the villagers and forest areas of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Irrespective of the reason, a tweet by ANI quotes K Raju, Kerala Forest Minister saying that strict action would be taken against the culprit.

 

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Since the news of this tragic death broke out, many netizens – both Indian and international – have expressed their grief. Online petitions have also been doing the rounds wherein multiple people have urged for strong disciplinary action against the guilty.

Related: Actor, Activist Waris Ahluwalia On the Importance of Elephant Conservation in India