KOCHI: Tusker 'Avittathore Murali Krishnan' died at Kumbalam, near Kochi on Friday night after a grievous fall as he was being boarded into a lorry for transportation after being paraded at a temple festival.
The tusker had collapsed on Friday while mahouts were helping it to climb a lorry. Despite assistance, the elephant could not get up and a medical examination later revealed that it had infection under its feet.
Alleging that the tusker had been ill-treated by its owners, the Thrissur-based Elephant Lovers Forum said in a statement that it had earlier lodged a complaint with the Forest Department that Murali was unwell on account of repeated appearances at temple processions.
It demanded action against the owners and mahouts under the Captive Elephant (Management and Maintenance) Rules 2003.
The Keralites' deep love for elephants, and the prestige associated with parading them on ceremonial occasions, has resulted in elephants being in great demand, especially during temple festivals.
The hapless pachyderms are often overworked and exhausted, being made to walk or transported in cramped trucks over great distances, to take part in one festival after another.
In recent incidents, an elephant killed its mahout in Thrissur when another mahout jabbed it on the back with a sharp instrument earlier this week.
In another incident, a young elephant that was being paraded at a temple festival in Cherthala in nearby Alappuzha district, ran amok when someone reportedly burst a balloon near it.