Kerala, the state that is hailed as ‘God’s own country’ recently witnessed the gruesome killing of a pregnant elephant who was reportedly fed a pineapple stuffed with firecrackers. The incident took place in Palakkad. The mouth and tongue of the elephant were reportedly destroyed by the explosive and it was found trying to cool itself in a nearby stream. However, when the forest officials took it out to take it to a treatment centre, the animal collapsed and died, along with the unborn baby elephant. It is deeply saddening to see that we, as humans have stooped this low. Do animals, not deserve love and respect? Are they not a part of the ecosystem we are living in? And that is not enough now the animal’s death is being communalised also!

The Mannarkkad divisional forest officer, Sunil Kumar told TOI that the cow elephant might have come from the Silent Valley National Park’s buffer zone in search of food. “We have registered a case for killing the wild elephant but nobody has been arrested. We are waiting for the postmortem report to find out the exact cause of its death,” he added. The fruit was allegedly put to kill the crop-raiding wild boars. The incident became public when a forest official posted a public apology on Facebook saying, “Sorry sister”.

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The human-animal conflict has become so big as to murdering innocent beings. Not only is this inhumane but it is also illegal as per the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. This killing portraying the sheer insensitivity we have towards our fellow beings triggered an outrage in the country and caught the attention of international media as well. Social media users have been putting up caricatures and are condemning the cruel act. Various celebrities including Anushka Sharma, Virat Kohli, Akshay Kumar, John Abraham, Shraddha Kapoor expressed resentment via tweets.

The human-animal conflict has become so big as to murdering innocent beings. Not only is this inhumane but it is also illegal as per the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.

An organisation working against animal cruelty in India, Humane Society International-India (HSI) has announced a cash reward for anyone who brings in relevant information that might lead them to the culprit. Another NGO, Wildlife SOS, announced a reward of Rs 1 lakh to anyone who helps them reach the malefactor.

The Chief Minister of the state, Pinarayi Vijayan, tweeted assuring that the culprits will be punished and justice will prevail. Prakash Javadekar, the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has also tweeted that the Central Government will look into the matter. However, even more disheartening is the fact that the animal’s death is being communalised. People are twisting facts.

Is retaliation the solution to this injustice to animals? Why do we not have better laws in place that take the interests of farmers into consideration but not at the cost of the precious wildlife? Also, can we for once stop seeing everything through a communal lens?

This is not the first time an animal was killed in such a brutal fashion. This is being practiced for generations now because, with development and an increase in the human population, the wildlife has to grapple for food and habitat. The human-animal conflict that has now become a battleground originates from this struggle to survive. It was in November 2018 that the six-year-old tigress Avni was shot dead by a hunter’s son as it was accused of killing 13 humans. Around the same time, seven elephants died of electrocution in Odisha, a state infamous as the “graveyard” for the animal.

Is retaliation the solution to this injustice to animals? Why do we not have better laws in place that take the interests of farmers into consideration but not at the cost of the precious wildlife?

We need to have better and stricter policies in place to save both animal and human lives in this age-old conflict between the two. The animals need to be monitored but only to an extent where they do not have to suffer. Humans need to be sensitized and taught that we lead interdependent lives and killing of animals would thus rupture the food chain and the ecosystem would suffer. The forest cover is shrinking by the day because we need land to accommodate the ever-rising population of humans, but does this mean that animals will jeopardise their lives for us?

Picture Credit: The Statesman

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Saavriti is an intern at SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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