An elephant that was pregnant died in Kerala, standing in water, after she faced one of the most brutal forms of animal abuse. She ate a pineapple filled with firecracker, offered to her allegedly by some locals. The fruit exploded in her mouth, leading to the inevitable tragedy.
Perhaps a more important question to ask is why we hear so much about voiceless deaths, and not enough about prosecutions? Due to loopholes in the judicial system how many will actually end up being sentenced?
The disparity between sentencing in our country is great. The law in India does not assign long prison sentences to wildlife crime. There should be a strong fear amongst that would-be killers of the innocent who must know that they might not go home alive, and would be shot even if they surrendered
Conviction of wildlife killing must receive a rigorous sentencing with hefty fines. And until India's wildlife laws were updated recently, penalties for killing were simply fines that had not risen in to keep pace with the atrocities caused to our beloved animals.
Even where tough laws do exist, for a criminal case, it can be difficult to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that a killer is guilty. Too often, the expertise or evidence is not available for any type of sophisticated analysis.
Even if, the convict is caught, many of them would be awaiting trial dates, and appeals which could be sent out for more evidence from the public to complete these prosecutions.
There is general frustration about the prosecution of the animal killers. It is important to build the political will to ensure that prison sentences are given. Time and time again, killers are awarded bail and abscond, or are acquitted at trial. If this is the case, then legal measures to crack down on killing are not working.
Shoot-to-kill may not be a one-size-fits-all solution for the killers of innocent animal, it must be exercised in this rare case of killing of a mother and an unborn child.
We must continue to challenge the so called law to stop this type of inhuman act. We stand the best chance possible of turning back the tide on killers with harsher punishments.
Often the punishment is not in proportion to the crime. It is up to us to lend our own voices to the voiceless. Hopefully, the inhuman and atrocious killer will be convicted and punished for harming an innocent animal.