World

Elephant rampages through town

A wild elephant rampaged through a busy street in Siliguri, West Bengal, on Wednesday, trampling on several vehicles and motorcycles as onlookers gawked.

A wild elephant went on an hours-long rampage in a town in eastern India on Wednesday, damaging about 100 homes, shops and other buildings, a state minister said.

The bewildered animal wandering around Siliguri, about 577 km north of Kolkata, crashing into structures, as people scurried out of the way.“The elephant strayed from its herd and lost its way from a nearby forest into Siliguri, creating panic in the town for nearly five hours,” West Bengal state forest minister Binay Krishna Barman told AFP by phone.

“The animal knocked down nearly 100 houses and vehicles as it ran loose on the streets,” he said.

 

People threw stones to try to drive away the elephant, before Indian wildlife officials shot the elephant with tranquillizers to sedate it. A crane was then used to lift the adult male elephant and transport it to a nearby forest.

 

“It was transported to Sukna forest bordering Siliguri town,” the minister added.

Siliguri, gateway to the hill station of Darjeeling, is teeming with elephants and some have been killed by trains while crossing tracks running alongside forests.

Wildlife experts say the destruction of elephant habitats is a major reason for encounters between humans and the animals mostly in India’s rural areas.

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