The police in Kerala on Friday made the first arrest in connection with the death of pregnant elephant in the state’s Palakkad city last month, ANI reported. The elephant died after it ate a fruit stuffed with firecrackers. The incident has sparked massive outrage across the country.
The arrested person has been identified as P Wilson, an employee at an estate cultivating cash crops and spices, the Hindustan Times reported, quoting Kerala minister K Raju. Another person has been detained in the case. The two men told interrogators that they had placed fruits filled with firecrackers to scare wild boars, who often damaged farms.
The wild elephant had strayed into a village near Silent Valley National Park in Palakkad last month, where it ate a fruit stuffed with firecrackers. The fruit exploded in the elephant’s mouth and it walked in excruciating pain for days before it died standing in a river on May 27.
The elephant’s autopsy report showed that it died of a severe traumatic injury caused by an explosion in the mouth, according to NDTV. The elephant could not drink or eat for days because of the injuries and it led to severe weakness. The immediate cause of death of the elephant was stated to be inhalation of water leading to respiratory failure.
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The arrest in the animal’s death came a day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the police were focusing on three suspects and assured the people that they would be punished for the crime.
Villagers in Kerala often use firecrackers or explosives stuffed in food to protect their fields from wild animals. The practice had been widely criticised.