It's Not Just an Elephant, It's a Life
Updated: Sep 7
A lot has happened in the world lately. Aside from the pandemic that we are facing, people in the US have been protesting after a black man was killed by the police even when he was begging for his life. The Filipinos have been divided about the Anti-Terror Bill and it has been causing a debate among the citizens. And now, in India, a pregnant wild elephant was killed when she ate a fruit stuffed with firecrackers.
When I first read about it on Facebook, I literally cried. I felt truly sorry for the elephant who just trusted people to feed herself and her baby. I can’t imagine what it felt when the firecracker exploded in her mouth. How could anybody do such a cruel thing to a gentle animal?
When we were little, we were taught to be always kind not only to people but also to animals. I remember many years ago, when I was still a small girl, I saw a bunch of losers, most of them were our neighbors put a dog inside a sack and beat him to death with a thick wooden stick. I knew right there and then that they were going to cook the poor thing. I was traumatized. It took me a while to get off that dreadful incident from my everyday thoughts.
From then on, I started to be more vocal of my aversion towards animal cruelty. I would tell my neighbors that it’s very bad to eat dog meat. I would feed stray cats even when they were so dirty. One time my neighbor asked me, “Why are you feeding those cats? They are so ugly.” Although his question irritated me, I still answered him courteously, “I don’t look at the physical appearance of an animal. I feed them because they are hungry and nobody is taking care of them.” He might not understand it but the feeling when I came home from school and the cats would come running happily to me, it was more than happiness. It was love.
So, going back to that elephant in Kerala, I was reading some news about it and the incident had been investigated and one man was already arrested for it. It was not really known when she ate the pineapple or if it was premeditated. Usually, the local villagers leave pineapples or sweet fruits with firecrackers to protect their fields from wild boars. The forest officers and a veterinarian tried to catch her to treat her but she was elusive. She was found again in the river but they couldn’t tranquilize her because she might drown. She stayed there until she died.
My heart really goes out to the elephant. She was pregnant. She was supposed to be taken care of. She just wanted to eat. I understand that we need to protect our properties but do we need to put firecrackers in the fruits to fend off wild animals? Even if it’s a wild boar, it’s inhumane to let them suffer like that.
As I am writing this, I feel broken-hearted. I feel so sad for the elephant whose baby wasn’t given a chance to live. I feel heartbroken for the voiceless whose only mistake is to trust people. I feel frustrated that we, as their defenders have failed them a million times.
Let us remember that we all have the right to live on this planet. Don’t feel so privileged because you are human and “it” is just an animal. We all have a purpose. There's a reason why God created us. We are a part of the balance. Without each of us, our environment won’t survive, exist and be stable.
I do hope and pray that what happened to that elephant in Kerala will be served justice. If you witness an animal cruelty, please don’t turn a blind eye. We already have a law punishing those involved in such unacceptable acts.
Animals have feelings, too. And they feel the same way as we do. We are their protectors. We are their voice. Please choose to be kind. It doesn’t hurt to be one.