A rogue elephant has killed at least 16 villagers in the past two months in central India after likely being expelled from his herd “for bad behavior,” a wildlife official says.
The mature male, believed to be 15 or 16 years old, has been on the rampage in the tribal Santhal Pargana region of Jharkhand state ever since he was separated from the herd of 22 elephants.
“It’s likely he was in heat and was expelled because of his bad behavior or sexual rivalry with other males,” Satish Chandra Rai, regional divisional forest officer, says. “We are studying his behavior and a team of 20 officials is constantly trying to track him because our first priority is to protect the animal.”
On Tuesday, the elephant lifted an elderly couple with his trunk and battered them to death when they had ventured out before dawn.
Rai says the elephant is only killing people who accidentally get in its way, get too close, or who try to provoke it and take pictures.