Bengaluru: Another wild elephant has been found dead in Kerala with injuries around its mouth, three months after a pregnant pachyderm was killed by a ‘firecracker-laced’ pineapple in the state.
The latest incident has occurred in the remote Attapadi region, which is close to Mannarkkad where the pregnant elephant had died. “This is the second such case in the area,” Mannarkkad District Forest Officer (DFO) K.K. Sunil Kumar confirmed to ThePrint.
The elephant was found dead Wednesday near a wooden bridge at Sholayur along the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. Forest officials said that they had been tracking it for months as the elephant had raided homes in Attapadi.
There is, however, no clarity on what caused the injuries to the elephant but forest officials suspect firecrackers were used in the case.
“On 17 August, when it crossed the border, our people found that the elephant had severe injuries on its tongue and infection around its mouth,” Kumar said. “Veterinarians were brought to treat the elephant. However, the wounds were so deep that it was unable to feed due to the injuries.”
“Two days ago, it reappeared. It breathed its last by the time we reached to try and revive it,” the senior forest official added.
Elephant had raided homes in region
Kumar told ThePrint that forest officials had been tracking the elephant for a couple of months, adding that on 23 July, the elephant was first found roaming in the forest region of Attapadi, adjoining Tamil Nadu.
“The elephant had come from Tamil Nadu and locals reported that it had attacked around 10-14 houses in Attapadi… It would raid houses to get rice, pulses and fruits,” Kumar said.
The forest official added that a week after the attack, the elephant went back into Tamil Nadu to reappear in the Attapadi area on 17 August.
Forest officials said they lost track of it before it reappeared Monday. They added that it had caused a rampage in Tamil Nadu as well.
“Elephants cause widespread damage to homes and get injured in the process. They also destroy crops, but it is the fear of being attacked in its search for food that has the locals on guard,” another forest official said.
In June, the death of the pregnant elephant had caused widespread outrage, though the initial furore was driven by the fact that many had mistook Mannarkkad for Malappuram, a Muslim majority district.
The trauma the elephant went through had prompted several celebrities and animal activists to demand strict action against the perpetrators. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had also said that strict action would be taken against those responsible for killing the pregnant elephant.
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