The National Green Tribunal (NGT), Southern Zone, Chennai has taken suo motu cognizance of the horrific incident involving the death of a pregnant elephant after she consumed a pineapple loaded with explosives. Cognizance of the matter was taken by a bench of Justice K Ramakrishnan, Judicial Member, and Saibal Dasgupta, Expert Member on June 06, 2020.
The News item published in The New Indian Express dated June 032020 under the caption “Kerala elephant tragedy: Another Jumbo suspected to have been killed in a similar fashion”, was instrumental in this process.
It was reported that a pregnant wild elephant in Silent Valley Forest had fallen victim to an act of human activity of using explosive substance kept in a Pineapple which was consumed inadvertently by the wild elephant and which resulted in the death of the pregnant wild elephant and the fetus was also damaged on account of the same and the young one died without seeing the light of the day.
This incident had agitated the minds of the people all over the nation and it had become viral in 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”, Observed NGT.
The Bench noted that it was aware of the action taken by the Forest Department and also at Government level including the Central Government, but it had taken up this case for the purpose of making an effort to avoid such things in future and also for providing some long term strategy to minimize man-animal conflict in wildlife area or fringe village adjoining the forest area. “There arises a substantial question of the environment which requires the interference of this Tribunal to resolve this issue at least in future”, the Bench noted.
The Bench proceeded to appoint a joint committee comprising of a Senior officer, not below the rank of Chief Conservator of Forest deputed by the Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, Wildlife, Chief Wild Life Warden, Kerala, a Senior officer from Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, Southern Zone, Wild Life Warden of Silent Valley Division and Divisional Forest Officer of Mannarkkad and Punalur and the District Collector, Palakad, and asked them to go into the question and submit a factual and action taken report including the long term management plan to avoid such recurrences in future. Wildlife Warden of Silent Valley Division has been made the nodal agency for coordination and providing necessary logistics for this purpose. A time of one month is granted to the committee to submit the report.
The matter is posted on July 10, 2020, for the next hearing.