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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 21:27 GMT 22:27 UK
Killer Indian elephant shot dead
Asian elephants
The wild elephants' habitat is disappearing
A wild elephant which went on a three-day rampage on the border between India and Nepal, killing 13 people, has been shot dead by an Indian forestry department marksman in West Bengal.

The elephant first stormed a village near the Marapur tea garden on Sunday, killing seven people including a forest guard and a paramilitary soldier, Indian forest officials told the BBC.

On Monday, the rogue elephant entered Nepal and killed three villagers there before re-entering Indian territory and killing another two villagers.

On Tuesday morning it killed another man before it was pursued and killed by rangers in the Darjeeling district.

The marksman had to fire five rounds to bring down the female elephant, said Jogesh Burman, West Bengal's wildlife minister.

Poachers suspected

The elephant had several injuries on her back, he added.

"The elephant seemed to have been attacked by poachers. Otherwise she would not have turned so violent," Mr Burman said.

Deforestation and an expansion in farming have destroyed much of the elephants' natural habitat and led to an increase in such incidents, wildlife experts say.

Animal rights groups say elephants stray into human settlements in search of food as settlers encroach on forest cover.

India is estimated to be home to about 30,000 elephants.

See also:

14 May 02 | Science/Nature
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30 Apr 02 | South Asia
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