One person has been arrested in connection with the death of a pregnant wild elephant in the southern state of Kerala, the state forest department said today.
This was the first arrest in connection with the incident which has sparked an outcry across India.
"Kerala Forest Department has zeroed in on the culprits and recorded the first arrest in the wild elephant death case", the department said in a tweet adding search was on two more persons.
Forest department sources had said yesterday that three people were under the scanner of the joint investigation team of Kerala police and forest personnel and a search was on for two more people.
"The arrested man is a rubber tapper. A search is on for others," Palakkad district police chief G Siva Vikram Said.
The man, who is in his 40s, allegedly handled explosives and also assisted others, according to Chief Wildlife Warden Surendra Kumar.
The 15-year-old elephant consumed a pineapple filled with powerful fire crackers which exploded in its mouth in the Silent Valley forest of Palakkad district. The pachyderm died in Velliyar river a week later on May 27.
Forest officials have said the elephant could have died due to severe mouth injuries after eating explosives mixed with some edible substance, usually used as a trap to keep wild animals like boars away from destroying crops.
The wild elephant had strayed into a village near Silent Valley National Park in Palakkad last month.
The animal walked for days in pain before it went into a river and died on May 27, forest officials said.
Villagers in the region often use firecrackers or explosives stuffed in food - fruit or animal fat - to protect their crops from wild animals like boar.