The elephant had moved to a water source after it got injured, said forest department officials
THRISSUR: Forest department began a probe after the carcass of a pregnant wild elephant was found in Velliyar River under Mannarkkad forest division on May 27. Officials said that some miscreant had given a fruit filled with explosives that blew and injured its mouth, jaw and tongue. The elephant survived that ordeal, but it took the animal a week to die a painful death.
Wildlife warden of Silent Valley National Park Samuel Pachuau said that forest department is trying to nab the perpetrators. “It was a tragic incident and blatant animal abuse. We will intensify patrolling to avoid such incidents. What we found was that the injury was a week old and the elephant couldn’t eat or drink. It was cruel,” he said.
“We didn’t know how the elephant was injured. Normally, elephants travel 200km a day. We suspect that people living near the border gave a pineapple used to kill wild pigs,” said a senior forest department official.
Assistant forest veterinary Officer in Thrissur Dr David Abraham said he accidentally discovered that the elephant was pregnant during autopsy. “The foetus was just a month old. When we first saw the elephant, we realised that it will not survive given its injuries and week-long ordeal. Normally, injured elephants will move to water sources and we found the carcass in the river,” he said.
Another department official, who was part of the autopsy, said, “Women officials were also present for the procedure and they wept when we found the foetus inside the elephant. It was a sad moment for the entire team. I think this is the first such instance where a pregnant wild elephant was killed using explosives in such a cruel manner.”