Elephants are some of India’s most beautiful, peaceful, and gentle creatures. The country has several measures in place to protect these important animals whose population is already at risk due to climate change and poaching. This is what makes this story so tragic. A pregnant elephant dies in Kerala after eating a pineapple laced with firecrackers. The entire country is in outrage.
Pregnant Elephant Dies from Explosive Pineapple
Wildlife officials are investigating the death of a 15-year-old Elephant and her unborn calf after she ate a pineapple laced with firecrackers. The elephant sustained severe injuries to her tongue and jaw and ran from the village in pain. (1, 2)
Officials found her in a river nearby, where she was submerging her injuries in the cool water. For the next 42 hours wildlife experts and veterinarians attempted to coax her out of the water so they could treat her, but she would not move. On May 27th, she succumbed to her injuries. (1, 2, 3)
Was it Foul Play?
Currently, it is unclear as to whether or not she was intentionally fed the firecracker pineapple or if she ate it accidentally. In India, it is somewhat common to use explosive fruits as a way to protect wild boar from destroying crops. Known as “pig firecrackers”, most experts suspect this is what she ate. The only unknown variable is whether or not she was purposefully fed the fruit.
According to Kerala’s environment minister Prakash Javadekar there are three suspects currently being looked at. (1, 2)
“Two suspects are being interrogated right now. We have not yet made any formal arrests,” an official told the BBC. (1)
A Country in Outrage
People all over India are expressing their anguish over the peaceful animal’s death online. One of India’s leading businessmen Ratan N. Tata posted an image on Twitter with this caption:
“I am grieved and shocked to know that a group of people caused the death of an innocent, passive, pregnant elephant by feeding the elephant with a pineapple filled with firecrackers.
Such criminal acts against innocent animals are no different than acts of meditated murder against other humans.
Justice needs to prevail.” (1)
The captain of India’s cricket team also expressed his dismay upon hearing the news with an image on Twitter, writing:
“Appalled to hear what happened in Kerala. Let’s treat our animals with love and bring an end to these cowardly acts.” (1)
Forest official Mohan Krishnan, who was one of the officials involved in the failed rescue mission, wrote in a post on Facebook:
“[the elephant] didn’t harm a single human being even when she ran in searing pain in the streets of the village…When I saw her, she was standing in the river without making any noise. She was possibly getting some relief from immersing her trunk and mouth into the water,” (1)
A cry to bring these people to justice, as well as to question the method of using crude bombs to keep animals away from crops, has been made across India. (1, 2)