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. Rogue Elephant Kills Five In Eastern Nepal

Habitat destruction and migratory route disruption could be reasons the elephant has started killing people, Subba said.
by Staff Writers
Kathmandu (AFP) Oct 26, 2006
A rogue elephant in eastern Nepal has killed five people and injured three others by trampling houses in night-time attacks in remote villages during the past week, officials said Thursday. "The elephant, which came from a jungle along the Nepal-India border, killed a 55-year old man in Pakali village on Thursday," said police officer Tej Bahadur Basnet from Sunsari district, 350 kilometers (220 miles) east of Kathmandu.

On Wednesday, the elephant killed a woman in neighboring village of Barmatole in the district.

"The animal goes on the rampage at night before disappearing in the jungle," the police officer said.

Three other people were trampled to death and three were injured in nearby Dharan district on Sunday, he said.

"We burnt jute sacks while the locals set off firecrackers to drive the elephant away," the officer said.

Locals had done nothing to provoke the attacks, Basnet said.

Elephants are protected as an endangered species under Nepali law, but there have been instances in the past of tuskers being killed after causing human fatalities.

There are four populations of elephants in Nepal, with a total of around 100 animals, according to the most recent survey undertaken by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 1998.

Two of the populations migrate between northern India and Nepal, said Basanta Subba, a WWF official in Kathmandu.

Habitat destruction and migratory route disruption could be reasons the elephant has started killing people, Subba said.

"In eastern Nepal the traditional migration route that they used to take has been decimated. Also their habitat is getting degraded, that's why they are forced to raid crops which put them in conflict with people," the official said.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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