A pregnant wild elephant in Kerala died on May 27 after she ate a pineapple filled with firecrackers that was allegedly offered to her by some locals.
The elephant who originally belonged to Silent Valley National Park (SVNP), Palakkad remained calm though she was under excruciating pain. She did not create a ruckus much to the disbelief of the forest department officials.
She faced one of the most brutal forms of animal abuse as the fruit exploded in her mouth, leading to her death. She had wandered into a nearby village looking for food when she was offered the pineapple filled with crackers. The claim however is currently under investigation whether the locals deliberately offered her the pineapple filled with firecrackers.
According to an NDTV report, the incident was brought to attention when a forest official from Kerala's Malappuram district posted about the horrific death on social media.
"She trusted everyone. When the pineapple she ate exploded, she must have been shocked not thinking about herself, but about the child she was going to give birth to in 18 to 20 months," wrote forest officer Mohan Krishnan, who was part of the Rapid Response Team to rescue the elephant, on a Facebook post.
The cracker explosion burned her tongue and mouth. Reportedly, she walked around in the village, in searing pain and hunger, unable to eat anything owing to her injuries.
"She didn't harm a single human being even when she ran in searing pain on the village streets. She didn't crush a single home. This is why I said, she is full of goodness," Krishnan wrote in Malayalam, with photos of the elephant.
The elephant eventually walked up to the Velliyar River and stood there. The photos posted by the forest officials showed the elephant standing in the river with her mouth and trunk in water. According to him, she must have done this to avoid flies and other insects on her injuries.
The forest officials brought in two captive elephants, to lead her out of the river. "But I think she had a sixth sense. She didn't let us do anything," Mohan Krishnan wrote. She died at 4 pm on May 27, after hours of attempts by the officials to rescue the elephant, while standing in water.
The elephant was taken back inside the forest in a truck where the forest officials cremated her.
"She needs to be given the farewell she deserves. For that, we took her inside the forest in a lorry. She lay there on firewood, in the land she played and grew up. The doctor who did her post-mortem told me that she was not alone. I could sense his sadness though the expression on his face was not visible due to his mask. We cremated her in a pyre there. We bowed before her and paid our last respects," the forest officer said.
*The story has been changed to reflect the facts of the incident correctly. It is under investigation whether the elephant was fed/offered the pineapple or she accidentally ate it.