Cases of animal abuse aren’t new in India. Not to mention, the COVID-19 pandemic only worsened the existing crisis as many were abandoned due to the fear of getting infected. However, nothing trumps the gruesome act reported in Silent Valley National Park (SVNP), in Palakkad, Kerala.
According to the New Indian Express, a pregnant elephant was fed a pineapple stuffed with firecrackers, allegedly used as a trap for wild boars. Despite being injured due to an explosion in the mouth and in struggling with excruciating pain, she remained calm and didn’t cause any trouble, as maintained by forest officials.
The officials assigned two other elephants to get the injured one to the shore but failed. In a rare incident, the elephant died standing with its trunk in the water at Velliyar River, Malappuram. The 15-year-old animal wandered in search of food when it stumbled across the pineapple that became the cause of its death.
Dr David Abraham, Assistant Forest Veterinary Officer, Thrissur, who conducted an autopsy, revealed that he was moved holding the dead fetus. Reports confirmed that the animal died due to asphyxiation after water entered its lungs and trachea.
On a related note, the 'mother of all festivals' in Kerala -- the Thrissur Pooram or elephant parade had been cancelled for the first time this year on account of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The Pooram dates back to the late 18th century and was started by Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of the erstwhile Kochi state.
The most keenly watched event of the pooram festivities is the elephant parade -- of more than 50 jumbos, besides the firecracker displays, that starts in the afternoon and continues till the wee hours of the next day.
This season the festival's most awaited events were to be held on May 2, but with the now extended lockdown billed to end only on May 3, the temple authorities that met here under State Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunilkumar decided to cancel it.
"This is for the first time that this festival will not be held. But the temple rituals associated with the event will be held behind closed doors and just five people will be present," said Sunilkumar.