Man arrested in Kerala elephant death case: State Forest Minister

One man has been arrested in connection with the death of a pregnant elephant in Palakkad district, Kerala Forest Minister K Raju said on Friday.

“One accused identified as Wilson has been arrested in connection with the case. More people are involved. The process to arrest all the accused is underway. Strict action will be taken in the matter to ensure such incidents are not repeated in the future,” Raju told reporters here.

The elephant had died in Palakkad district on May 27 after it ate a pineapple stuffed with crackers and forest officials said that it died standing in river Velliyar after it suffered an injury in its lower jaw.

Raju said that the forest department has appointed three teams to probe the matter, and added that police are also investigating the incident as explosives were used.

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“There may be some type of crackers inside the fruit. In such cases, blast occurs and the animal can not even drink water. The primary post mortem reports said that this case is like that. Let it be investigated,” he said.

“Man and animal conflict is natural in our state as people residing close to the forests. The government gives compensation for farmers, Rs 10 lakhs compensation if a person dies in an animal attack,” the Minister added.

The death of the pregnant elephant has sparked a controversy, with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan terming the unfortunate death as “a painful thing” and Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar saying that the Centre has taken a “serious note” of the incident.

According to the preliminary post-mortem report, the immediate cause of the death of the female elephant was drowning followed by inhalation of water leading to lung failure.
The elephant was seen standing in the river with its mouth and trunk in the water for some relief from the pain after the explosive-filled fruit exploded in its mouth.

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