Nepalese army hunts elephant that killed four

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The Independent Online

Soldiers in Nepal are hunting a wild elephant that is terrorising villagers in the south of the country and has killed four people in the past three months.

The elephant walked into a thatched house in Gardi village, adjoining Chitwan National Park, about 50 miles south of Kathmandu, on Saturday.

Once there, it pulled an elderly couple from their bed and trampled them to death, said Shiva Ram Gelal, the assistant district administrator from Bharatpur, the nearest city to the park.

Park officials say the same animal killed two other villagers less than three months ago.

"We have given orders to the army to shoot the elephant that has gone mad," Mr Gelal told Reuters. "Soldiers are now searching for it."

Nepal has about 300 elephants, including more than 100 domesticated ones which are used by hotels and national parks to take tourists on jungle rides to watch wild animals such as one-horned Asian rhinoceroses and Royal Bengal tigers.

Elephants are protected by law and anyone convicted of killing one faces up to 15 years in jail, but Mr Gelal said that the Local Administration Act allowed authorities to kill the animal if it was responsible for the loss of human life.