On the 27th of May a hungry and pregnant elephant went searching for dinner near the village of Palakkad, India. Upon finding what appeared to be a voluptuous pineapple on the edge of a farm, the elephant thought she had just scored herself a tasty treat. As she took a bite of this seemingly normal and juicy fruit it violently exploded in her mouth. In shear panic the elephant frantically rushed back to her home several miles away in the Silent Valley National Park, Kerala, India. Suffering from critical injuries, the only way the expecting mother could ease her pain was by submerging the remnants of her jaw into a cool stream. Forest officer Mohan Krishnan found her several hours later, she distraught and disfigured by the explosive. By the time she was discovered by Mr. Krishnan it was too late. These photos were taken of the pregnant elephant in her final moments as she and her baby painfully departed from this life.
“She trusted everyone. When the pineapple she ate exploded, she must have been shocked not thinking about herself, but about the child she was going to give birth to in 18 to 20 months,” Mr. Krishnan told Sky News.
“She didn’t harm a single human being even when she ran in searing pain in the streets of the village. She didn’t crush a single home,” Mr Krishnan continued.
It is common practice throughout India for farmers to line their property with pineapples stuffed with firecrackers. The farmers surround their land with these mouth watering explosives to detour wild boar from their property. Apparently unaware of the dangers this might pose to other animals, this pregnant elephant was a grim casualty of a remiss farmer’s poor attempt at pest control.
Outraged by the tragedy, several artists around the world have expressed their grief through visual works of art representing the incident.
After the elephant and her unborn baby died they were cremated and given a proper funeral. Since her death one arrest has been made and the Kerala Forest Department continues their search for other suspects involved. This tragic incident brings to light a deep rooted issue in the village of Palakkad, where the average yearly income is about $3,000 USD. The poverty in this area of the world does not enable farmers to utilize humane boar deterrents such as water sprinklers, boar repelling spray, or wire fencing. The villagers are faced with a difficult decision, either let the wild boar destroy their crops and the village will starve, or line their fields with pineapples full of explosives. Elephants are regarded as a sacred animal in Indian culture, their intent was never to harm the animal.
Unfortunately the remedy to this disaster is not as simple as outlawing explosive pineapples in India, the country has already implemented extensive laws to protect elephant populations. Major change must occur in this area of the world to prevent future accidents from happening. To help ensure the safety of elephants you can contribute to their protection through the International Elephant Foundation. You can also get the latest news regarding this poor elephants death through the Kerala Forest Department’s Twitter.