On Saturday 13 September 2008 in Kathmandu, Nepal, police reported three wild elephants had entered the villages of Saptari and neighbouring Siraha districts where five people had been trampled to death while they slept and a fifth killed later the next day. The elephants had entered the villages from the jungles bordering India during the night, returning to the jungles in the day.
The local police set up a team to chase them away, as under Nepali law elephants are protected as an endangered species.
It is the shrinking forests and encroachment on elephant territory which has forced the animals to stray into human settlements looking for food, often resulting in attacks.
A more detailed description of these magnificent animals from Wikipedia:
“The Indian Elephant, Elephas maximus indicus, is one of four subspecies of the Asian Elephant, the largest population of which is found in India. This subspecies is also found in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Laos, Peninsular Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam.
“The other three subspecies of the Asian Elephant are the Sumatran Elephant (E. m. sumatranus), Sri Lankan Elephant (E. m. maximus) and Borneo Elephant (E. m. borneensis).
“Indian Elephants live in or near scrub-forested areas, although their habitat may vary. They tend to be nomadic in nature and do not stay in one place for more than a few days. They can live in jungles but gravitate towards areas that contain open space and grass.
"The Indian Elephant is up to 6.4 metres (21 ft) long; it is taller and thinner than the Asian elephant found in Thailand. The largest Indian Elephant was 26ft (7.88m) long, stood 11 ft (3.4 m), 9in (3.61m) at the arch of the back, and weighed 8 tons (17935 lbs). Indian elephants look similar to African elephants but they have smaller ears and shorter tusks. They are also the only elephant to be used by humans.
“The WWF considers the Indian Elephant widely distributed, but endangered. The current population of the Indian Elephant is in the range of 20,000-25,000. The Indian Elephant was assessed as an endangered species in 1996 by the Asian Elephant Specialist Group. Indian Elephants are threatened by poaching for the ivory of their tusks, by the loss of habitat due to human pressure on forested areas and due to human conflict. The isolated populations of wild elephants in individual wildlife sanctuaries are also threatened by loss of genetic diversity. Recently a number of corridors connecting wildlife sanctuaries have been established to encourage the migration of wild elephants.”
From previous posts readers will have noticed that I have a deep concern for the endangered and threatened species on this planet. When will the government authorities realize that if these species are not protected that humans will follow in their footsteps.
Research: AFP news, Wikipedia
Photo Credits: -sreevishnu, -miacat63.
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