“The postmortem report states that there was an explosion in the face. We have not been able to catch any culprits. We do not yet know the cause of the explosion,” Ali said, adding that the animal was found one month pregnant. .
Kerala Chief Wildlife Warden Surendra Kumar said the case was under investigation.
He said local villagers occasionally leave fireworks-filled pineapples and other sweet fruits around their fields to prevent wild shukoya, which is likely to explode in the elephant’s mouth.
“(The explosion) broke the bone and did a lot of damage to the mouth. The animal became weak from not being able to eat and then died,” he said.
Ali said the elephant was found injured on May 23, but left when a forest officer and a veterinarian tried to paralyze him for treatment.
Two days later he was seen standing on the bank of the river. “For treatment, it has to be kept stable but we couldn’t use the tranquilizer while in the water because then the animal could drown,” Ali said.
Ali added that two more elephants were brought in to take the injured animal out of the water, but he refused to move and stayed there until he died.
The death of the elephant caused outrage across the country. India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said on Thursday that the central government had taken “extremely serious note” of the incident.