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Based on a report published in The New Indian Express on June 3, the National Green Tribunal, Southern Zone, Chennai has taken suo motu cognizance of the incident involving the death of a pregnant elephant after she consumed a pineapple loaded with explosives. (NGT Suo Motu Order on Kerala Elephant Tragedy)
NGT has issued notice in the matter to the Central Government and the Kerala Government.
A bench of Justice K Ramakrishnan, Judicial Member and Saibal Dasgupta, Expert Member recorded,
"It is alleged in the report that a pregnant wild elephant in Silent Valley Forest had fallen victim to an act of human act 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."
NGT observed that such incidents were happening due to non-compliance of norms for the protection of wild animals, thus exposing them to conflicts with humans, which puts their lives in danger.
NGT noted that as per the news report, some action had been taken by the Forest Department and other authorities, including the Central Government.
In order to ascertain the steps to be taken to protect the wildlife, minimize the man-animal conflict and know the real state of affairs, NGT appointed a Joint Committee 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; Divisional Forest Officer of Mannarkkad and Punalur and the District Collector, Palakad.
The Committee shall submit a factual and action taken report, as well as a long term management, plan to avoid such recurrences in future, within one month.
Wildlife Warden of Silent Valley Division has been designated as the nodal agency for co-ordination and providing necessary logistics for this purpose.
"If there is already any such scheme, what is the stage of the implementation and how effectively it is being done and whether any further improvement will have to be made in the scheme for this purpose to avoid such tragedies and submit a report along with their suggestions and recommendations..", NGT has ordered.
Authorities have also been directed to submit a report on the progress of action taken in respect of the investigation, arrest and recovery of any compensation in connection with the incident.
The matter would be heard next on July 10.
Read the Order: