Elephant bites on pumpkin filled with explosives, dies

Baby elephant found by its mother's side, in malnourished state

In a horrific incident in Sri Lanka, some villagers had hidden explosives inside a pumpkin and left it for a wild elephant to consume it.

Wildlife officials in Madhu area found a malnourished baby elephant besides the carcass of its dead mother, which was lying by the side of the road in the village of KK Kulam in Murungan.

The female elephant had died on Sunday night. The post mortem conducted on the elephant revealed that she had swallowed a pumpkin, which was stuffed with the explosive 'hakka patas', which is used by villagers to chase away wild animals.

The unfortunate elephant had tried to eat the pumpkin which then exploded in her mouth injuring her severely. The official said her jaw had been blown up.

This had taken place at least two weeks ago and the elephant along with her calf were in the area, and had been unable to find any food.

The mother and her calf were loitering unable to find food and the mother was unable to eat due to her injuries.

The calf had been walking behind her without food when it was spotted. The female had eventually succumbed to her injuries and the calf had remained by her side, unable to forage for food on its own.

"The calf was extremely malnourished, with its bones sticking out through its skin. We are currently feeding the baby elephant and he is recovering. We hope to release him to a herd in Udawalawe once he fully recovers," Athukorala said.

Wildlife officers say there have been many incidents reported in the area where villagers have been feeding elephants which encroach on their land with 'hakka patas' to get rid of them.

However, the officers have not been able to identify the culprits who are directly responsible for such misdeeds. The Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) does not seem to care about the suffering that three elephants are undergoing due to injuries they have sustained, an environmentalist charged.

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