A pregnant wild elephant in Kerala died on May 27 after she ate a pineapple filled with firecrackers. The elephant who originally belonged to Silent Valley National Park (SVNP), Palakkad remained calm though she was under excruciating pain. She faced one of the most brutal forms of animal abuse as the fruit exploded in her mouth, leading to her death.
As public discourse ensued over the cruelty the wild elephant-faced, a graphic started circulating online which apparently shows the culprit behind the horrific incident.
The image shows 2 photos, a man on one side and the elephant's on the other side.
"In Kerala, he killed a pregnant elephant with a pineapple, and should be severely punished for killing the animal," reads the caption of one such viral post.
Man seen in viral photo killed the pregnant elephant in Kerala.
The claim is misleading.
A reverse image search led to a report by Indian Express published in 2018. This report carried the image of the man in viral posts.
According to the report, Madhu, a 27-year-old tribal youth of Kaduka Manna region in Attappady, got caught by a group of people who tied him up for several hours. He was also beaten with sticks.
Madhu used to allegedly steal rice and other food items from shops in the area.
The man was later handed over to the police at Mukkali junction. He, however, died on his way to the hospital.
According to an official at the Agali police station, he appeared to be mentally unsound.
Keyword search based on the above information led to a series of news reports on the incident.
Most of these reports carried the image of the man.
Therefore, contrary to the viral photos, the man is not connected to the death of the pregnant elephant in Kerala.
Reportedly, a man, P Wilson, has been arrested and another detained by the joint investigation teams of the police and forest departments in connection with the incident, minister K Raju said on June 5.
Wilson works at an estate that cultivates cash crops and spices. The interrogators were informed by these two men that they had set up a snare of fruit filled with crackers to scare wild boars, who often destroyed their farms.
Further, in a report by The News Minute, Thiruvazhamkunnu Forest Station, Deputy Range Officer, M Sasikumar confirmed the arrest of Wilson. It added that he works as a rubber tapper in a plantation in the district.
Three persons were taken into custody for questioning on June 4, two of them were allowed to leave after interrogation.
According to the SP two men, Kareem and Riyaz, who are suspected to be the owners of the estate, are currently absconding.
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Also Read: Fact Check: 600 Elephants Killed Yearly In Kerala? BJP MP Maneka Gandhi Makes False Claims