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Last Updated: Monday, 16 August, 2004, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
India makes elephants appeal
By Subir Bhaumik
BBC correspondent in Calcutta

Elephants in Bangladesh
Elephants are terrorising villagers, Bangladesh says
Indian officials have asked Bangladesh not to kill around 100 elephants which have strayed into that country.

The elephants have killed 13 people in Bangladesh and injured many more, leading to demands that they should be killed if they cannot be returned.

The two countries have many differences, but it is only in recent weeks that elephants have become a problem between them.

Indian officials have called for a joint initiative to bring them back.

Migratory animals

The Forestry Minister in India's north-eastern state of Meghalaya, Mukul Sangma, made the appeal to Bangladesh.

He said there should be a joint initiative between the two countries, so that they could be brought back and pushed into the dense jungles of India's northeast.

Elephants in India
Experts say the elephant population in north-east India has increased

Mr Sangma said the elephants were migratory by nature.

He said Bangladesh should protect them because it was a signatory to global declarations for protecting wild animals.

The Wildlife Society of Bangladesh had asked India to take the elephants back, suggesting that they should be killed to stop them from causing any more damage.

Thirteen people have died and many more have been injured by the elephants in recent weeks in Bangladesh.

But Bangladesh's Chief Conservator of Forests, Munshi Anwarul Islam, said they will not take any immediate initiative to kill them.

He said the elephants were not able to find a corridor to go back to India, so they were turning violent.

North-east India lies on the corridor used by the great Siamese elephant to move from Thailand to the foothills of Bhutan.

But in recent years the population has increased heavily, and they have encroached on forest land, say officials.

The elephants have tended to lose their tracks and move into populated spaces, causing mayhem.

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