The Kerala police arrested a man for his alleged involvement in the death of a pregnant elephant, said the state forest minister on Friday. This is the first arrest in the case that had sparked an outcry on social media. The arrest comes a day after Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that three suspects have been identified.
The Chief Wildlife Warden Surendra Kumar said that the man, who is in his forties, allegedly handled explosives and also assisted others to feed the elephant with food stuffed with firecrackers.
However, the police are looking for more suspects.
The wild elephant strayed into a village near Silent Valley National Park in Palakkad last month and is suspected to have eaten something with firecrackers stuffed in it. It exploded in the elephant’s mouth. The animal walked for days in agony before it went into a river and died standing on May 27.
Villagers in the region often use firecrackers or explosives stuffed in food – fruits or animal fat – to protect their fields from wild animals like boar and the horrific practice has been widely condemned.