Pregnant elephant killed after eating pineapple, India outraged


The death of a wild, pregnant elephant after eating pineapple stuffed with firecrackers in Kerala has drawn widespread condemnation in India, ranging from business brass to the government to sport stars.

“I am grieved and shocked to know that a group of people caused the death of an innocent, passive pregnant elephant by feeding the elephant with a pineapple filled with firecrackers,” wrote Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus, Tata Sons, and chairman, Tata Trusts, in a postcard with the artwork of an elephant that the Indian business doyen tweeted.

“Such criminal acts against innocent animals are no different than acts of meditated murder against other humans. Justice needs to prevail,” he added.

Virat Kohli, captain of India’s cricket team who holds demigod status among millions, was among the celebrities who joined in the outrage

“Appalled to hear about what happened in Kerala. Let’s treat our animals with love and bring an end to these cowardly acts,” he tweeted.

Prakash Javadekar, India minister who holds the environment, forest & climate change portfolio, tweeted: “Central Government has taken a very serious note of the killing of an elephant in Mallapuram, #Kerala. We will not leave any stone unturned to investigate properly and nab the culprit(s). This is not an Indian culture to feed fire crackers and kill.”

The incident happened in Mannarkad in Palakkad district of Kerala on May 27, and a preliminary probe seemed to suggest that the elephant had eaten pineapple meant for wild boar.

“Breaking: Prelim Forest dept inquiry report suggests that tragic death of Kerala elephant was not because the animal was ‘fed’ pineapple laced with crackers by villagers but because the elephant strayed into a trap laid for wild boars who destroy crop,” veteran Indian journalist Rajdeep Sardesai tweeted on Thursday.