Preliminary investigations into the death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala have found that it may have accidentally consumed a fruit filled with crackers, the Environment Ministry said on Monday.
The Ministry further noted that locals often resorted to illegal acts of planting fruits filled with explosives to repel wild boars from entering plantation farms.
The 15-year-old elephant had consumed a coconut filled with firecrackers, which exploded in its mouth in the Silent Valley forest. It died a week later in the Velliyar River on May 27.
The Ministry said in a series of tweets that one person has been arrested so far.
“Primary investigations revealed, the elephant may have accidentally consumed in such fruit. Ministry is in constant touch with Kerala Govt & has sent them detailed advisory for immediate arrest of culprits & stringent action against any erring official that led to the elephant’s death,” the ministry said in a tweet.
Primary investigations revealed, the elephant may have accidentally consumed in such fruit. @moefcc is in constant touch with Kerala Govt & has sent them detailed advisory for immediate arrest of culprits & stringent action against any erring official that led to elephant’s death
— MoEF&CC (@moefcc) June 6, 2020
It added, “As of now, one person has been arrested & efforts are on to nab more individuals who may have participated in this illegal and utterly inhuman act. The @WCCBHQ has also been directed to act on this matter with utmost sense of urgency. #WildlifeProtection.”
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Environment Babul Supriyo requested people not to believe in social media “rumours”.
On Sunday, the Ministry had held a meeting with several officials to discuss the progress in the matter. The review meeting was held under the chairmanship of Sanjay Kumar, Director General of Forests and Special Secretary in the ministry to discuss progress on action taken in the case. An official from National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Inspector General of Wildlife, ministry of environment, additional director of Wildlife Crime Control Bureau and scientists from Elephant Cell, an official said. The details of the meeting are awaited.
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