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Last Updated: Monday, 24 December 2007, 12:30 GMT
Tiger urine to scare killer elephant
By Amarnath Tewary

Maraudin elephants in Jharkhand state
Elephants often enter villages in Jharkhand Pics: Mahadeo Sen
Forest officials in eastern India have advised villagers to stock tiger urine and excrement to scare away a killer elephant and his marauding herd.

The elephant, named after al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, and his herd have trampled seven people to death in the past three months in Jharkhand.

Forest officials say elephants stay away from areas frequented by tigers.

Humans and elephants have come into greater conflict in recent years as man encroaches on jungle territories.

Jhrakhand forest officials said they would collect the tiger excreta from the state's zoos and distribute it to the villagers in areas where Laden's herd is active.


"Elephants usually don't venture into the areas where tigers live. And the elephants can smell from far away places," district forest officer Paritosh Upadhayay told the BBC.

Tribal villagers in areas where the rogue elephants are active have already begun going into the jungle to collect tiger excreta.

Forest officials have also asked them not to store mahua, a local brew, inside their huts as Laden and his herd have attacked homes storing the alcohol in the past.

Elephant in Jharkhand
The elephant population in Jharkhand is declining

Forest officials have also asked them not to venture into forests after dusk, and sought the installation of solar powered lights in the affected villages.

"These instructions have worked a bit as the numbers of deaths have been reduced," said Mr Upadhayay.

The governments of Jharkhand and neighbouring West Bengal state have been working jointly to trap Laden and his herd, but the killer elephant is proving to be elusive.

Officials said about 400 people had died of elephant attacks and more than 700 had been injured in the last six years in Jharkhand.

About 10 elephants have been killed by poachers in the area during the same period, officials say.

According to a census conducted in May, the number of elephants in Jharkhand has declined from 772 to 622 animals.

A killer elephant, also named after the al-Qaeda leader, was shot dead in north-eastern Assam state in May last year.

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