A six-year-old female elephant starved to death after an illegal bomb made to deter boars exploded in its mouth and left her unable to eat.
Heart-breaking images show the emaciated animal after locals found her dying as she lay on the ground in Coimbatore, in southern India, at around 7:30am on 5th September.
Forest officials were immediately alerted of the find and attempted to treat her by administering IV fluids, but the elephant did not recover and died around 2.30pm.
The animal had extensive injuries in her mouth and trunk after she apparently bit down on a country-made bomb known as Avuttukai. The banned bomb is often used by locals who conceal it within a fruit or vegetable to deter wild boars from invading their farms.
Her body was taken to a forest rest house for an autopsy performed by an animal surgeon.
It was revealed during the post-mortem that the elephant’s stomach was empty, indicating that she had not eaten for a considerable period.
Officials have filed the case under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 and are currently searching for the person who planted the explosive.
A sniffer dog was deployed while searching for the bomb in the villages surrounding the area where the elephant was found.
N. Sadiq Ali, the founder of the Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust (WNCT), said: “We are issuing notices to inform people that possessing firearms without a license is illegal.
“Without the support of the police, the Forest Department cannot effectively curb the use of Avuttukai.
“We suspect that the Avuttukai was produced in Sirumugai.”
Additionally, he argued that the Forest Department should file non-bailable charges against suspects and impose maximum penalties.
The investigation is ongoing.