Animal Rights Group Hacked Over Exploded Elephant Comments

The website of an animal rights group has been hacked after its founder made accusations regarding the killing of a pregnant elephant in Kerala.

The 15-year-old elephant suffered a broken jaw and died on May 27 in the Velliyar River after allegedly eating a pineapple filled with firecrackers. Such traps are commonly set in India's forest fringe areas to keep boars and other wild animals from damaging crops.

Following the expectant animal's tragic demise, Indian politician, animal rights activist, and founder of the organization People for Animals Maneka Gandhi said that "action should be taken against everyone who is suspected in Malappuram."

The politician's comments were considered to be controversial since it is not yet clear who may have laid the trap and whether it was intended specifically for the elephant, or whether the incident occurred in Malappuram district or in the adjoining Palakkad district. 

According to Asian News International, Gandhi also said: "Kerala government has not taken any action in Malappuram, it seems they are scared. An elephant is killed every three days in Kerala. We have less than 20,000 elephants left in India, they are rapidly declining."

On June 4, following Gandhi's comments, a group of cyber-criminals hacked the official website of the PFA. The group, who call themselves Kerala Cyber Warriors, replaced the PFA site with a message that read "Maneka Gandhi dragged the sad death of pregnant elephant for dirty politics."

PFA trustee and wildlife activist Gauri Maulekhi said the hacked organization is now considering taking legal action against the malicious hackers. 

Gauri told THE WEEK: "This kind of bullying, trolling and one-upmanship is not going to work."

Maulekhi said the elephant's violent death had transpired as a result of the Kerala government's attitude toward the hunting of wild animals.

"Hunting was banned in the country in 1972," said Maulekhi. "The Kerala government, in a recent order, has incentivized hunting. Poor people have started hunting wild boar to make money. They are forced to kill wild animals because of the absurd and wicked policies of the state government."

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