The death of a pregnant elephant after eating a pineapple full of firecrackers in the Silent Valley National Park, Palakkad district of Kerala, has sparked a wave of national outrage across India. The elephant named Hathini agonized for three days until she died in a river.
The 15-year-old mammal, one month pregnant, bit into a fruit filled with explosives and died on May 27. Until today the details of what happened are unknown. It is believed that it could have been an accident or a cruel and premeditated act.
Many possible scenarios are handled regarding the case. However, people are only known to illegally use two-foot high fences loaded with booby traps in forest ranges to protect their fields against wild animals, especially wild boar.
Hathini: The pregnant elephant killed by eating a pineapple with explosives
Certainly, the death of Hathini the elephant has caused irritation, anger and outrage in the country. The pachyderm died in a river in the Silent Valley National Park in the Palakkad district of Kerala after sustaining fatal injuries to the mouth and tongue caused by eating the explosive-laden fruit. For now, it is not known for sure if the animal ate the pineapple by itself or if someone gave it to it.
Through NDTV it became known that the elephant managed to walk to the Velliyar River and stayed there. Photos taken at the scene showed the elephant standing with her mouth and trunk in the water, perhaps to ease the pain.
A forestry official said that he must have done this to avoid flies and other insects in his wounds. Hathini was found injured on May 24 and, after three days of agony, died standing in the water on May 27 at 4 pm.
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What happened to Hathini?
After recognizing that the wounds found in the animal’s mouth were made by detonators, there seems to be a strong discrepancy on how the pregnant elephant came into contact with this type of detonator:
- On the one hand, it is suspected that he fell prey to a trap. Food “bait bombs” filled with explosives are common in India, particularly in the southern states, and are used primarily for hunting wild boar and obtaining meat. Furthermore, there is no evidence to suggest that the elephant was intentionally fed with such an explosive.
Unfortunately, the reduction in habitat and the increase in the number of wild elephants in the last 15 years have caused hungry elephants to enter the villages, where they sometimes damage crops and attack residents. This is why farmers make these booby traps.
The investigation concerns whether the mother-to-be elephant deliberately bit the fruit or went accidentally through one of these traps.
The news of the alleged murder of the elephant has shocked the whole of India. Social networks exploded with thousands of comments about the case:
- Many took to Twitter stating that it must have been the locals in the nearby town who offered the elephant the fruit. Kerala Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan also responded to the news, tweeting: “We want to assure everyone that your concerns will not be in vain. Justice will prevail ”.
Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar called the death “heartbreaking, inhuman and unacceptable.” While several political figures and prominent CEOs of companies also spoke out.
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Responsible and sanctions for the death of Hathini
The Kerala Forest Department said it would carry out an investigation into the death of the pachyderm. He noted that he will leave no stone unturned to ensure maximum punishment for offenders. So far an arrest has been made.
The state forest department only announced the arrest of an alleged perpetrator of the outrageous event. The detainee is being investigated with the intention of clarifying whether he is a poacher or a farmer who wanted to kill the elephant to prevent it from damaging the crops.
- The person responsible has been identified as P. Wilson, and the charges against him have to do with the premeditated murder for having placed fruit with explosives near his plantation to scare away wild animals.Wilson could be sentenced to seven years in prison . Taking the life of an elephant in India is a punishable act. Elephants are a protected species and respected by the laws of this country.
Legally, the use of traps to trap, injure or kill an animal is a cruel practice, and even attempting to do so is punishable under the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act.
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The Death of the Elephant: A War of Ideals
Meanwhile, Hindu nationalists have tried to blame Muslims for the death of the pregnant elephant. Maneka Gandhi, a member of the ruling Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata (BJP), claimed that the incident occurred in a predominantly Muslim district.
“It is murder,” said Gandhi, who is a prominent animal rights activist, The Guardian reported.
“Malappuram is famous for such incidents, it is the most violent district in India. For example, they throw poison on the roads so that 300-400 birds and dogs die at the same time ”.
In Hinduism, the elephant is a sacred animal and is considered the living representation or incarnation of Ganesha. The elephant-headed deity who rides a mouse.
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