Wildlife officials in India are searching for the person responsible for killing a pregnant wild elephant by feeding her a pineapple filled with explosives.
NDTV reports the 15-year-old elephant died last Wednesday in a southern Indian forest, days after biting into the fruit which had been filled with firecrackers.
“Her jaw was broken and she was unable to eat after she chewed the pineapple and it exploded in her mouth,” wildlife warden Surendra Kumar told the Tribune India.
Forestry officials said the elephant, who had strayed into a nearby village last month in search of food, wandered in pain for days before she died standing in a river.
"We don't know when the incident happened. But because of the starvation and shrinking of the elephant, we suspect that it would have happened around 20 days ago," one official told NDTV.
Mohan Krishnan, a wildlife officer who was tasked with getting the elephant out of the water, posted heartbreaking photos of the elephant to his Facebook page.
"When we saw her she was standing in the river, with her head dipped in the water," Krishnan wrote. "She had a sixth sense that she was going to die."
An autopsy later revealed that the elephant was pregnant when she died.
Wildlife officials told India Today that locals stuff firecrackers into pineapples or other fruits to protect their fields against wild boars.
Kumar said he is directing law enforcement to find the person responsible.
"We will punish him for 'hunting' the elephant," Kumar told the Tribune India.
BBC India reports that the investigation is focused on three suspects, though no formal arrests have been made.
Nearly half a million people have signed a petition on Change.org, demanding that the person responsible be brought to justice.
The Kerala Forest Department took to Twitter in response to the elephant's death, saying the Indian constitution mandates that citizens treat animals with kindness.
“Article 51-A (g) of the Indian Constitution says that it shall be duty of every citizen of India to have compassion for living creatures,” they tweeted.