Page last updated at 11:47 GMT, Friday, 30 April 2010 12:47 UK

Cameroon panic as elephants escape Dja Faunal Reserve

The villagers want compensation for the elephant damage

Wildlife officials in Cameroon are hunting for scores of elephants, who escaped from a nature reserve, sparking panic in nearby villages.

The elephants wandered out of the Dja Faunal Reserve - a World Heritage site - and trampled over houses and fields.

A wildlife official told the BBC that the elephants had fled after being attacked by poachers.

The reserve's curator blamed locals for the poaching and said they were responsible for their own misfortune.

But Cameroon's wildlife director Tabi Philipe Tako-Eta told the BBC's Randy Jo Sa'ah that he was trying to get the law changed so that local people could get compensation for the damage caused by the marauding elephants.

The Dja Reserve was set up in 1950 and became a World Heritage site in 1987.

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