Artists Pay Tribute To The Pregnant Elephant Who Died After Eating A Pineapple Filled With Firecrackers
It’s easy to assume humans don’t stand a chance in a fight against animals because they’re often bigger, stronger, and more violent than us. In reality, however, animals are at a stark disadvantage because they do not have the ability to channel the same evil thoughts that humans can. Innocent animals, some of whom have posed no threat to people have been killed for fun in the most inhumane ways, and this pregnant elephant who died from firecrackers is just one of the many.
Kerala Silent Valley National Park
Perhaps, the Kerala Silent Valley Park in India would have remained a flourishing hub of flora and fauna if humans had never encroached and distorted the natural order of the ecosystems. Just a little over a week ago, on May 27, a 15-year-old pregnant elephant was found dead, standing in a river in the park. She died due to complications from injuries sustained after eating a pineapple stuffed with firecrackers. As horrifying as it sounds, it exploded inside of her.
A truly painful death
According to the forest officials, she was searching for food and must have wandered at least 10km through the trail. However, it remains uncertain exactly where she ate the rigged fruit. Her tongue and mouth were severely injured by the firecrackers.
In an attempt to soothe the burning inside her, she entered the Velliyer River and partially submerged herself underwater. Two captive elephants were brought in an attempt to lead her out, but unfortunately, she had already drowned. 
Massive outrage amongst park officials and activists
The park’s officials were distraught at the sheer wickedness meted out to the poor animal. With no other option in view, the carcass was removed and cremated by the park’s Rapid Response Crew, led by Officer Mohan Krishnan.
Initially, the story released to the public was that the poor animal was just a victim of an unfortunate circumstance. They claimed farmers often put firecrackers in plants placed in strategic positions to keep wild boars away from their farms.
However, people on social media are not having any of it — it had to be the work of poachers or pranksters who knew the elephant would walk by that trail in search of food.
Findings from the official medical report
According to the post-mortem report by the Mannarkkard Forest Division, “Drowning, followed by inhalation of water leading to lung failure, is the immediate cause of death of the elephant.”
They finally confirmed that the injuries to the oral cavity were indeed caused by an explosive blast in the mouth.
Unfortunately, the report showed that the elephant was in “excruciating pain and distress” before she died.
A bounty on the perpetrators will hopefully lead to their capture
A statement issued by Gajender K Sharma, Country Director of World Animal Protection India, recognized that elephants are “India’s heritage animals and deserve to be treated with care and dignity.”
As an incentive to make people come forward with relevant information on the matter, the Humane Society International, India has offered a reward of Rs 50,000 ($662). 
The gut-wrenching case of the brutal killing has gone beyond social media. Pinarayi Vijayan, Kerala Chief Minister, assured the public that justice will prevail. He added that the government would take proactive measures to reduce human-wildlife conflict. Also, the Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar promised that stern actions will be taken against the perpetrators of the crime.
On June 5, the first arrest in the case was made. The suspect is a farmworker in the region and was immediately detained for questioning. 
An emotional tribute
This tribute was posted on Facebook by Forest Officer Krishnan. “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 18–20 months,” he said.
“She didn’t harm a single human being even when she ran in searing pain in the streets of the village. She didn’t crush a single home. This is why I said, she is full of goodness,” he added. 
Also, people have taken to social media to create and share amazing artworks in honor of the elephant and her unborn baby.
A declining population should be protected
The global populations of African and Asian elephants have drastically reduced over the years. African elephants are listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List with just about 415,000 left in the wild.
The situation with Asian elephants is a bit more critical. They are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List with fewer than 50,000 left in the continent. 
For the elephants in Kerala, the situation is just as grim with the latest figures showing only 5,706 elephants left as opposed to the 6,177 recorded in 2012. The overall decline in the elephant population worldwide is a result of poaching for ivory, a decline in habitat, and an increase in human-wildlife conflicts. 
Elephants are intelligent animals with a huge role to play in the ecosystem as well as tourism for any nation they are in. It is pertinent that they are protected against the harshness that they face daily.
Also, it is only fair that future generations get to witness such majestic creatures beyond the pages of their textbooks.
Goodbye to the elephants who have lost the battle so far, and hopefully, the narrative would include a positive and long-lasting change soon.
- “Artists Pay Tribute To Pregnant Elephant Died Eating Pineapple Stuffed With Firecrackers.” Bored Panda. Rokas Laurinavičius and Mindaugas Balčiauskas. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
- “Elephants. WWF. Editor. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
- “Survey: Marginal decline seen in Kerala’s wild elephant population.” The New Indian Express. Dhinesh Kallungal. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
- “Pregnant elephant killed after eating pineapple filled with firecrackers.” Sky News. Emily Mee. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
- “‘Savage, inhumane, disgusting’: Kerala elephant death triggers national outrage. Times of India. Retrieved June 6, 2020.
- “One arrested for alleged role in pregnant elephant’s death in Kerala.” India Express. Retrieved June 6, 2020.