Avenging elephant herd kills villager in north Bengal


Kolkata : An elephant herd that was attacked by villagers on the India-Nepal border last Tuesday night chased and killed a villager in north Bengal Friday.

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Kharanand Jaishey, 53, was tossed in the air and flung to death at Naxalbari’s Kalabari area. Jaishey, who was physically challenged, hadn’t heard the herd approaching him, police said.

Wildlife experts said it could be a revenge attack by the herd that was tormented by villagers at Bamandangi in Jhapa district of Nepal. A female elephant was killed and its molar teeth, tails, nails and private parts were chopped off recently. One of the elephants was also injured in the incident.

The herd, which was attacked by villagers, was probably waiting for an opportunity to strike. Elephants are known to possess a strong memory and have sometimes unerringly identified their tormentors several years after the incident.

In 2002, an elephant herd had trampled to death 13 villagers after a pachyderm was stoned to death in the same Kalabari area.

Meanwhile, villagers in Naxalbari are spending sleepless nights, fearing further reprisal attacks by the elephants. Deputy Forest Officer (Kurseong) S P Yadav said security has been stepped up in the area to prevent the herd from entering the villages.

Frequent man-animal conflicts are common along the India-Nepal border. Elephants usually take the conventional corridor from Mechi in Nepal to Sankosh in Assam, but on the way they often stray into villages in search of food. The elephant, which was killed at Bamandangi, had probably entered the village in search of food, officials said.