Thursday, August 4, 2011

Two wild elephants invade Indian city and gore security guard to death in three-hour rampage

At least one man was killed amid widespread panic when two wild elephants went on a three-hour rampage across a city in southern Indian.

The raging elephants left a trail of destruction across a suburb of the city of Mysore, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, after they wandered in from a nearby forest.

One man, a 55-year-old security guard from the Bamboo Bazaar district, was trampled to death after he came out of his house to see what was going on.

Footage shown on New Delhi Television news shows the body of the man at the feet of one of the animals being repeatedly gored, butted and trampled into a doorway.

The footage also shows an elephant angrily butting a cow.

An eyewitness said: 'The two elephants entered our city and started stomping over everything that came in their way.

'One of them even entered a market place and crushed a man to death within minutes.'

Karnataka state higher education minister S.A. Ramdas told the AFP news agency the elephants entered the city from a nearby forest early in the morning.

One elephant barged into a women's college compound and stalked the grounds, while the other wreaked havoc in a residential area.

Schools and colleges were closed for the day, said Mr Ramdas, and extra police were deployed as forest rangers while staff from Mysore zoo tried desperately to contain the animals.

Officials ordered residents to stay indoors and urged them not to throw stones at the raging elephants for fear of provoking them further.

The two young elephants came with two others from a forest about 22 miles from Mysore. The other pair remain at large on the outskirts of the city, which is 87 miles from Bangalore.

Every year hundreds of people across India die when wild animals wander into cities as their natural habitats become ever smaller and they have to range farther and farther for food.

India's national parks suffer massive encroachment from people who live and forage for food in the forests or graze their cattle inside.

'Unregulated expansion of farm lands and increasing movement of people and transport vehicles through the elephant corridor are making the wild jumbos enter into villages and towns in search of food and shelter,' one official told AFP.

After a three-hour hunt, the two elephants who went into the city were eventually brought down with tranquilliser darts and captured. They are set to be released back into the wild.

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