Fact Check: 600 Elephants Killed Yearly In Kerala? BJP MP Maneka Gandhi Makes False Claims

The Logical Indian Fact check team investigates BJP MP Maneka Gandhi's claims that the pregnant elephant died in Kerala's Malappuram and that over 600 elephants are killed yearly in the state.

Kerala   |   5 Jun 2020 12:09 PM GMT
Writer : Aditi Chattopadhyay | Editor : Bharat Nayak | Creatives : Abhishek M
Fact Check: 600 Elephants Killed Yearly In Kerala? BJP MP Maneka Gandhi Makes False Claims

Image Credits: India TV News

Following the tragic death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala, there has been a massive outrage across the country. While most of the outrage centred around animal cruelty, the incident gave rise to a number of false claims and quickly took a communal angle.

The pregnant wild elephant died in Kerala after she allegedly ate a snare of fruit filled with crackers. The elephant originally belonged to Silent Valley National Park (SVNP), Palakkad, remained calm despite being in excruciating pain.

Reportedly, she walked around in the village, in searing pain and hunger, unable to eat anything due to her injuries. The elephant eventually walked up to the Velliyar River and stood there.

She died at 4 pm on May 17, standing in the water, after hours of attempt by the officials to rescue her.

Soon after the incident gained national attention, BJP MP and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi, on Wednesday, made a number of claims

Speaking to ANI, the BJP MP claimed that 'over 600 elephants are killed in Kerala every year.' She reiterated the same claim on Twitter as well, asking for action against animal cruelty.


She also claimed that the elephant died in Malappuram district in Kerala. She used this claim to target Muslims, who form a majority in the district.

Claim

1. Over 600 elephants are killed in Kerala every year.

2. The pregnant elephant was killed in Malappuram.

Fact Check

The claims are false.

600 Elephant Deaths In A Year In Kerala

While Gandhi claimed that 'over 600 elephants are killed in Kerala every year,' the claim contradicts the government's own response in the Lok Sabha.

In response to a question in Lok Sabha in February 2019, Dr Mahesh Sharma, MoS, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF) said that as per data collected between 2015-2019 (up to 31 December 2018), there have been a total of 373 elephant deaths.

The data from the four-year period said that 104 elephants died in 2015-16, 89 died in 2016-17, 105 in 2017-18, and 75 in 2018-19. Meanwhile, 226 of these deaths occurred due to electrocution, 62 due to train accidents, 59 due to poaching and 26 due to poisoning.


On February 10, 2020, Babul Supriyo, MoS (MoEF) presented data in the Rajya Sabha which states that between 2015 and 2019, 269 elephants died due to electrocution, 71 died due to train accidents, 61 due to poaching and 26 due to poisoning.

The data also shows that 113 elephants died in 2015-16, 94 died in 2016-17, 105 in 2017-18, and 115 in 2018-19.

Both the data shared by Supriyo and Sharma are roughly the same. The data from the centre shows that not once the number of elephant deaths across the country crossed 115 mark in the last four years.

Gandhi's claim of 600 elephant deaths in a year in Kerala alone, therefore, falls flat.

Furthermore, as per the state-wise data given by Supriyo, Kerala reported 39 elephant deaths between 2015-2019. Meanwhile, states like West Bengal, Assam, and Odisha, reported more deaths than Kerala.

Elephant Died In Malappuram

Even as Gandhi claimed that the elephant died in Malappuram, the incident actually happened in Palakkad district of the state.

While an initial NDTV report said that the incident happened in Malappuram, the article has since been updated to say that the incident happened in Palakkad.

Shylaja Verma, the author of the report, also took to Twitter to clarify the same.

In a tweet, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan also said that the incident happened in Palakkad.

Kerala Forest Minister K Raju also clarified the same.

Therefore, Maneka Gandhi's claims that the pregnant elephant died in Kerala's Malappuram and that over 600 elephants are killed yearly in the state are false.

If you have any news that you believe needs to be fact-checked, please email us at factcheck@thelogicalindian.com or WhatsApp at 6364000343.

Also Read: Fact Check: No The Simpson Did Not 'Predict' George Floyd's Death Back In The 1990s


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Aditi Chattopadhyay

Aditi Chattopadhyay

Fact Checker

"I like to read, cook my own food and note down witty lines. Fact checking reminds of the time when I was a kid and would go hunting for whatever caught my fancy in that moment."

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Bharat Nayak

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I am a passionate writer and believe in the power of the social media to bring about social change – it is the small things that each one of us add that contribute to the bigger picture.

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Abhishek M

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"Engineer by education, creative producer by profession, Photoshop interests me, travelling makes me happy, its a whole new world there every day"

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