NGT takes cognisance of elephant death in Kerala, seeks action-taken report from panel
New Delhi, June 07: Taking cognisance of the death of a pregnant wild elephant in Kerala's Silent Valley Forest, the National Green Tribunal has formed a committee and directed it to submit an action-taken report in the matter.
The elephant fell victim to an act of human cruelty after a pineapple filled with powerful crackers offered allegedly by locals exploded in her mouth when she chomped on it. The elephant died in the Velliyar River on May 27.
The postmortem revealed that the pachyderm was pregnant. Her jaw was broken and she was unable to eat after she chewed the pineapple and it exploded in her mouth. The green panel said the news has agitated people all over the nation and it has become viral on social media as well.
"Probably these things are happening due to various aspects of not following the norms for protecting the wild animals in the forest exposing them to have a conflict with human, thereby their lives were put to danger," the NGT said.
A bench comprising Justice K Ramakrishnan and Saibal Dasgupta issued notice to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Kerala government and others while seeking their replies before July 10. "In order to ascertain the real state of affairs and also the steps to be taken to protect the wildlife and minimize the man-animal conflict in future, we feel it appropriate to appoint a joint committee," the bench said in June 5 order.
The committee comprises a senior officer not below rank of chief conservator of forest deputed by the principal chief conservator of forest, wildlife, chief wildlife warden in Kerala, senior officer from the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Southern Zone, wildlife warden of Silent Valley Division and the divisional forest officer of Mannarkkad and Punalur, and the Palakkad district collector. The committee will go into the question and submit a factual and action-taken report, including the long term management plan to avoid such recurrences in future, the bench said.
The tribunal took suo motu (on its own) cognisance of the incident based on the news article published in an English newspaper. "It is also seen from the newspaper that some action has been taken by the Forest department and also from government level, including the central government," the bench said.
"But this case has been registered for the purpose of taking an effort to avoid such things in future and also for providing some long term strategy to minimise man-animal conflict in wild life area or fringe village adjoining the forest area," it added.