In a heartbreaking incident, a pregnant elephant died last week after locals allegedly fed her a pineapple stuffed with crackers in Malappuram district of Kerala, India.
The incident took place on May 27. Forest officials said the elephant died standing in the river Velliyar after it suffered an injury in its lower jaw.
“First, we observed this animal on May 23 when we were informed by locals that an elephant has been roaming around in the private area of the forest. When one of our staff members went to see the elephant, it was observed that the wound in the lower jaw area was exposed. Later, for at least 24 hours the animal was trying to look for water and on May 24 we received information that the animal has come into river Velliyar,” said Wildlife Officer, Silent Valley National Park.
Forest officer Mohan Krishnan who had been involved in the Rapid Response Team to rescue the poor animal took to Facebook to talk about the incident. In the Facebook post, Mohan wrote, “She trusted everyone. When the pineapple she ate exploded, she must have been shocked not thinking about herself, but about the child she was going to give birth to in 18 to 20 months.”
Mohan wrote in an emotional note in the regional language of Malayalam, “She didn’t harm a single human being even when she ran in searing pain in the streets of the village. She didn’t crush a single home. This is why I said, she is full of goodness.”
Eventually, the elephant walked into the Velliyar River and stood there with her mouth and trunk full of water to possibly try and bring some relief to the immense pain that she must have been in. According to the forest officer, the elephant would have done so in order to prevent flies and other insects from coming to her injuries. Forest officials had brought two captive elephants to try and lead the injured animal out of the water.
However, she did not budge and refused to be moved out of the water. “But I think she had a sixth sense. She didn’t let us do anything,” Mohan wrote. After many hours of trying to rescue the elephant, she died on May 27 at around 4 pm in the evening. The elephant was taken back to the forest where forest officials cremated her. “She needs to be given the farewell she deserves. For that, we took her inside the forest in a lorry. She lay there on firewood, in the land she played and grew up,” Mohan said.
“The doctor who did her post-mortem told me that she was not alone. I could sense his sadness though the expression on his face was not visible due to his mask. We cremated her in a pyre there. We bowed before her and paid our last respects,” he added. Many commented on the social media post angry and upset. One such person wrote, “Can’t read this post without tears…… only human beings can do this much cruelty….” Another added, “I am thinking of what punishment should be given to those who do such dirty deeds. It won’t be enough to give anything. Sorry sister.” Another asked, “What action is the forest department going to take against the locals who did this heinous crime?”