Pregnant elephant dies in India after eating explosive fruit trap

NEW DELHI (AFP) – A pregnant elephant was killed in India after eating fruit stuffed with explosives, officials said Wednesday, sparking outrage over the use of such traps to protect crops and homes.

The wild elephant strayed into a village near Silent Valley National Park in south Kerala state last Wednesday when it ate the rigged fruit — believed to be a pineapple — which exploded and severely injured its mouth, officials said.

“We are investigating the nature of the explosive and as well as the food fed to her,” Kerala’s chief wildlife warden, Surendra Kumar, told AFP, adding local police were involved in the probe.

This photograph taken on May 27, 2020 shows policemen and onlookers standing on the banks of the Velliyar River in Palakkad district of Kerala state as a dead wild elephant (C), which was pregnant, is retrieved following injuries caused when locals fed the elephant a pineapple filled with firecrackers as it wandered into a village searching for food. PHOTO: AFP

“We are investigating to find the people and circumstances that led to her death,” he added.

There was widespread outrage on social media after a forestry officer’s Facebook post on Saturday received almost 10,000 reactions or comments.

“She didn’t harm a single human being even when she ran in searing pain in the streets of the village,” Mohan Krishnan, wrote.

“She didn’t crush a single home. This is why I said, she is full of goodness.”

Photos of the pachyderm shared on social media showed it standing in a river after the incident, dunking its mouth and trunk in the water hours before she died.

More details on Friday’s Borneo Bulletin