Rogue elephant tramples 15 to death in India, faces culling

Frederick Owens
August 13, 2017

An elephant blamed for killing more than a dozen people in the eastern Indian states of Jharkhand and Bihar was shot dead on Friday, after an elaborate hunt that involved dozens of forest officials and a sharpshooter.

Jharkhand's chief forest and wildlife conservator L.R. Singh said the decision to kill the elephant came after a week-long operation to try to tranquilise and capture the animal.

Singh said the elephant was also believed to have killed four people in the neighboring state of Bihar before that. Indian authorities directed Khan and his men to take down the elephant after it killed 15 people in two Indian towns in March.

The elephant separated from its herd in the Sahibganj forest area invaded villages and killed 15 tribals, out of which nine belonged to the Paharia tribe. "Something must be done", Singh said, referring to one of the poorest indigenous tribal communities in eastern India.

Nawab Shafat Ali Khan - one of India's best hunters - and his hunting team went after the elephant, shooting it point blank to ensure that it could not survive the bullets, according to Yahoo News. Killer behaviour "He developed this abnormal behaviour of raiding the villages at night and pushing the huts down, killing women and children sleeping in them", Mr. Khan informed.

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In 2014, Khan was licensed by the northern state of Uttar Pradesh to capture or kill a man-eating tiger that was believed to have killed eight people.

Roughly 200 forest officials and villagers assisted in the hunt, but only Khan was allowed to shoot the elephant.

The environment ministry estimates a person dies every day in India in clashes with these endangered, jungle-dwelling animals - the vast majority crushed by elephants.

Violent encounters between elephants and humans have been on the rise, as human activities and expansion of settlements leave little room for wild elephants to roam.

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