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Elephant death ‘inhumane’, Modi govt asks Kerala to identify officers who acted irresponsibly

Calling it a case of negligence, the environment ministry asked the Kerala govt to look into the matter on priority & nab the culprits immediately.

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New Delhi: Amid an outpouring of shock and outrage over the death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala after it ate a cracker-filled fruit, the Narendra Modi government Thursday asked the state administration to look into the matter on priority, and also take action against forest officers concerned for acting “irresponsibly” and allowing the pachyderm to suffer for hours, leading to its death.

In a letter addressed to the Kerala chief secretary, the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change said: “This ministry notes the incident with utmost concern especially as it happened in a state which reveres elephants.” 

“The incident is even more brutal and inhumane as the elephant was pregnant,” the letter stated.

The elephant had reportedly strayed into a village in Palakkad last week and ate a pineapple filled with firecrackers, which exploded in its mouth. The elephant then walked for days in pain before going into a river, where it died standing on 27 May.

The incident has triggered outrage from several sections of the society. Celebrities and politicians, including cricketer Virat Kohli, industrialist Ratan Tata and BJP MP Maneka Gandhi, expressed shock and indignation over the incident.

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar Thursday took to Twitter, saying: “Central Government has taken a very serious note of the killing of an elephant in Mallapuram, #Kerala. We will not leave any stone unturned to investigate properly and nab the culprit(s). This is not an Indian culture to feed fire crackers and kill.”

Javadekar wrongly mentioned in the tweet that the incident has taken place in Mallapuram.

Also read: India has lost nearly 500 elephants to unnatural factors since 2013

Govt asked for detailed report 

The letter stated: “It has been brought to the notice of this ministry that such practices of use of crackers to repel wild animals have been continuing in the state for quite some time, which is contrary to law and ethics of humane treatment of wild animals.” 

“This ministry considers such acts as a case of negligence of the concerned officer(s) to have the issue unresolved,” it added. 

The letter urged the Kerala government to “look into the matter on priority and take immediate action for nabbing the culprits and bringing them to books and also identify the officer(s) who may have acted irresponsibly which led to the suffering of the elephant for more than 48 hours without treatment eventually leading to its death.”

The ministry has asked for a “detailed report” on the matter urgently. 

Kerala forest department officials familiar with the ongoing investigation into the death of the elephant told ThePrint there has been prima facie evidence of “negligence” by the forest staffers

Forest officials saw the injured elephant near Ambalapara at the border of Pottiyara forest in Mannarkkad division in the Western Ghats on 23 May, but still nothing was done, said officials.

On 25 May, the elephant was found standing in a river in Theyyamkund area, trying to cool the wound, but she died before she could be pulled out for treatment, according to the officials.

‘Outrage is misplaced’

Forest officials said it is possible the elephant might have eaten the cracker-filled fruit, which is generally used by local residents to kill wild boars, which destroy crops, through a practice called ‘snaring’.

“Snaring is a practice that is widely used in different parts of the country to kill wild animals. An edible item is packed with explosives or chemicals or glass pieces, so as to make sure an animal is deceived, and killed… It is quite possible that the elephant ate the explosive-laden fruit that was meant to ward off wild boars by villagers,” an Indian Forest Service officer (IFS) from Kerala said.

Gauri Maulekhi, an animal rights activist, agreed. 

“The outrage over the death of the elephant is misplaced,” she said. “Whenever an animal is declared vermin by a state government, they use all sorts of cruel ways to kill the animals without any dignity whatsoever,” she added. 

“Wild boars are declared vermin in Kerala… That means that they do not enjoy the protection given to wild animals under the Wildlife Protection Act.” 

“So, villagers adopt all sorts of ways to get rid of them… The death of this elephant is only a reminder of what animals go through,” she said. 

“If you are going to set up snares for some animals, there is nothing preventing other animals from eating them or falling for them… So unless there is outrage over these barbaric policies, such incidents will routinely happen,” she added.

Speaking to Mirror Now, Surendra Kumar, IFS, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden of Kerala, said this is the second incident of elephant death in the last two months.

A wild elephant, who was also suspected of having eaten explosives, had died in the forests of Punalur in Kollam division in April, he said.

Also read: Maneka Gandhi tells Army to act against elephant deaths in Assam, remove ‘dreadful spikes’


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  1. Do not compare an innocent animal to some imigrants, modiji is doing everything in his power to help every strata of people in our country in this crisis situation. The focus here is on an innocent animal who was pregnant and was cruelly treated for whome justice should be done. You do not have heart for innocent animals then i can imagine what conern you are having for people, so don’t comment bullshit!


    It is certainly pitiable and
    contemptible that a cracker wrapped in pineapple aimed at killing the wild pig which was destroying the cultivations,
    has taken the life of a pregnant elephant. It is not justifiable in any way. But those who mourn deeply the death of an elephant should remember some down to earth realities which has the smell of human blood. May we put before them a few questions:
    1.Where were you when a number of our poor innocent people have been mercilessly killed by wild elephants. Their shattered
    bodies and the blood shed has something very serious to tell us.
    2.Where are you when large scale destruction is being caused by these elephants to the cultivation of these poor farmers who sweat and toil day and night just to eke out a living for themselves?
    How touching, emotional and heart breaking is the way that the printed and the social media has presented and portrayed the death of an elephant. But they have nothing to say about the loss of human lives being lost in the ruthless attacks of wild animals.
    – the poor helpless daily wage earners in the cultivation sector
    – the poor adivasis who went into the forest to gather firewood
    – the cow rearers who went with their milk to the nearby milk society
    – even the helpless pregnant women..
    Yes..people belonging to various cross sections of society have fallen victims to the man-eating predators – their bodies being half eaten and disfigured in such a horrible way that the near and dear ones could not even give a fitting burial to the departed ones.
    These heart rendig incidents do not in any way attract media attention and if reported, it is put into a small column while the death of any wild animal and its obituary is given great prominence and wild publicity through all social media.
    It is with a sense of disgust and anger that we look
    at the so called animal lovers and nature lovers for their hypocratic expressions of love and sympathy for these dumb animals. They will feel the prick only when their own near and dear ones become mutilated by the attack of these wild animals.It may be good to remember that the curse of fire of those who have lost their dear ones will be upon you and your family for generations. The Govt
    Officials who are supposed to ensure the the safety and security of the people and their properties are also not free from this wrath and curse.What makes the whole incident more painful to the self proclaimed wild life lovers is that the elephant here in controversy was pregnant.
    In this background it is good to understand another more frightening reality. India is a country which has passed a law by which the foetus in the womb of the mother that has acquired a growth of 20 to 24 weeks can be ruthlessly killed by means of abortion.In this way according to Statistics over 5 lakhs children are mercilessly killed in the womb of the mothers every year. What makes it more ironical and shameful is the fact that these people who lament over the death of the infant in the womb of the mother elephant are the same very people who acclaimed the above mentioned law as progressive, humanitarian
    and an epoch making event in the history of the country itself.
    The Social Media Personnel may not have seen the heart breaking scenes of large scale devastation caused by these wild animals in the lands of poor farmers.
    Bearing up with all the inclemencies of weather(rain, cold, heat, mist…) they toil hard in the
    land cultivating banana,
    Paddy, tapioca etc. taking
    loan from Banks at exorbitant interest rates. In fact we may not be even interested in seeing the plight of these miserable farmers. In India such people are the born enemies of 80% of farmers. They are even more dangerous than these wild animals.
    Let wild life be preserved.
    No one is against it. But it should not be at the cost of the lives and property of these poor farmers.
    The Govt. Machinery also seems to be taking a hypocritical stand on this issue. It is the constant advice and instruction from the part of the Chief Minister and the Authorities especially these days, “Cultivate, Cultivate and become self sufficient in Food. Convert the barren lands into cultivable lands.”
    May we put before you a relevant question, “With all the advices that you are giving, what are you doing concretely to protect these miserable farmers from the destruction being caused by wild animals such as elephants, pigs, monkeys etc.?
    It is not enough to give exciting slogans sitting in the safe zones of governance.You must have the guts and the courage to reformulate policies and take timely action to save a dying sector(agriculture) from total annihilation. It is time t o prove your sincere and genuine concern for farmers rather than finding consolation in shedding corcodile tears.

    James Chakkittukudiyil

    • Man-animal conflict is not new, but it was created by humans who cut down the forests where animals lived and started cultivation there. With loss of forest area and depletion of their food, animals had to go in search of food and they ended up where humans have occupied. This conflict is not going to end by punishing someone who killed some animals to protect his crops or by filing cases against them. The only way to end this conflict is to leave their land to animals. How do people react if another country occupies part of their land? Animals also did that, that is all. Unlike humans, they don’t have politicians or a need to start a war to win elections. They only look for food, water and a mate. Leave them alone and they won’t trouble you. The government should evolve a plan to encourage people to move away from forests and from surrounding areas to leave a buffer zone outside forests. This can be done by giving incentives to move to other areas and disincentives to continue to stay near forests.

  3. By reading the article I understand that you are somehow trying to play down the unfortunate incident. I thank the one who called you PRESSTITUTES MEDIA first time. Hats Off to your Yellow Journalism

    • Yeah. A mosquito in our backyard died. I too twitted PMO but no response. I am outraged for NaMo’s behaviour

      • So you are comparing humans with mosquitoes?
        My country is filling up with fascist a*sholes and it’s dangerous for my India.

      • Great to hear that you equate humans to mosquitoes. Yes, both are living beings. But other species do not kill their own kind like humans do. Thank you for clarifying what kind of human you ar!

  4. Oh the Modi Government is concerned about the Elephant dying possibly by mistake. What about the Migrant workers who the government killed by it’s action which either are deliberate or completely stupid. So the main questions is whether this government and the dramabaz who runs it is murderer or just plain incompetently stupid.
    Bhakts please reply, because you won’t be able to see the difference in this scenario of elephant dying possibly by mistake and Modi government actively killing poor people. After all you are similarly cruel and idiotic. Mostly, an idiot is a cruel person who does not understand others and is incapable of compassion. Bhakts you are not even worth calling animals and so can be said about your Demi-god.
    Also the most shameful thing is that this is being said to shame Kerala Government , pathetic blatant stupid attack on a government that does not agree with Modi. What about the rape cases in U.P. did this coward Demi-god of yours say anything when his own party workers are suspect of committing the crime?
    Again Bhakts your limited intelligence won’t be able to understand the similarity between the elephant situation and the rape cases because your head is filled with Gobar and Gaumutra.

    • Okay so you are so much worried about migrants. Let me know what the hell you did. You urban naxals have questions but no solutions. By the way can you please tell me how political murders in Kerala.

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