A pregnant elephant died in Kerala's Palakkad district last week after it had eaten a pineapple stuffed with crackers allegedly placed there by some locals. A social media post by a forest officer describing the elephant's ordeal went viral on the internet casing a massive outrage online, with thousands demanding action against the perpetrators. However, no arrests have been made yet.
The police have launched a probe to catch the culprits and have also filed a First Information Report (FIR) against the currently unknown persons, according to NDTV.
Officials speculate that the elephant must have eaten the cracker laced fruit either at the end of April or beginning of May. "We don't know when the incident happened. But because of the starvation and shrinking of the elephant, we suspect that it would have happened around 20 days ago," forest officer Aashique Ali U told the news channel.
The elephant's autopsy was released yesterday. According to Mohan Krishna, who narrated the events on Facebook and also uploaded photos of the elephant, the wild animal had left the forest of Silent Valley and had ventured to a nearby village in search of food.
Pineapples with crackers placed inside are generally used by villagers in the area to ward off wild boars. Forest officials told the news channel that the elephant is suspected to have eaten one such pineapple. The pineapple then exploded in its mouth leading to severe injuries to the tongue and mouth. The elephant was no longer able to consume any food because of the injuries and went back to the forest after walking around the village for a few days.
Forest official came to know about the elephant on May 25, which was two days before it had died. Krishna described that the elephant walked up to the Velliyar River and stood there. Photos have gone viral showing the elephant just standing in the river with her mouth and trunk underwater. Krishna said that the elephant might have done this to avoid flies and other insects from infecting the injuries.
Several attempts were made by locals to rescue the elephant but it eventually died on May 27 at 4:00 pm. The elephant's corpse was then taken inside the forest by officials and cremated there.