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Last Updated: Monday, 14 March, 2005, 10:02 GMT
India elephant tramples villagers
Herd of Indian elephants
Elephants have been raiding villages in search of beer
An elephant has trampled three people to death and wounded seven others in a village in north-eastern India, reports from the region say.

The animal was searching for home-made rice beer and went on a rampage, tearing apart huts, a wildlife official in Assam state said.

Elephants are known to have developed a taste for the rice beer brewed by tribal communities in north-east India.

At least 150 people have been killed by elephants in Assam since 1999.

'Rampage'

Wildlife official M Rahman told the AFP news agency that the elephant strayed from a herd in the jungle and ransacked the Dalokgarupara village on Sunday morning in search of rice beer.

For a stiff drink, elephants... go berserk, at times plundering granaries and tearing apart huts, besides inflicting fatal attacks on human beings
Kushal Konwar Sharma,
elephant expert

"The elephant went on a rampage tearing apart huts and then attacked sleeping villagers killing three and seriously injuring seven more," Mr Rahman said.

Reports say that elephants have attacked villages in several parts of the state in the past two weeks.

Lecturer Kushal Konwar Sharma, an expert on Assam's elephants, said these animals frequently consume rice beer.

"For a stiff drink, elephants would blast through walls... they go berserk, at times plundering granaries and tearing apart huts, besides inflicting fatal attacks on human beings," he told AFP.

Assam Forest Minister Pradyut Bordoloi said that the elephants were straying into villages because of the "wanton destruction of forest cover".

This fierce conflict between man and beast had also led to the killing of about 200 elephants by angry villagers in Assam in the past five years.

Assam has more than half of India's 10,000-strong elephant population


SEE ALSO:
Drunken elephants die in accident
23 Jan 04 |  South Asia
Drunk elephants kill six people
17 Dec 02 |  South Asia
Drunken elephants trample village
21 Oct 99 |  South Asia
India elephant rampage
24 Dec 98 |  South Asia


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