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Nepal probes elephant 'attacks'

By Joanna Jolly
BBC News, Kathmandu

Indian elephants
Elephants from India are being blamed for the attacks

Nepalese officials are visiting an area in the far east of the country to investigate attacks by elephants migrating from neighbouring India.

More than 200 elephants are believed to have entered the region and have been blamed for destroying crops and killing villagers in border villages.

With the onset of the annual monsoon, herds of wild elephants have crossed into Nepal from the forests of India.

They are following traditional migratory routes.

The routes lead them to rich paddy fields and fruit trees that lie over the border.

The Nepalese government decided to send a team to the area after local villagers reported that crops were being destroyed and, in some cases, people killed by rampaging elephants.

After Nepalis began shooting at the animals, the situation threatened to turn into an international incident.

Last week the chief minister of the Indian state of West Bengal - which shares a border with Nepal - described the shooting as a crime.

The Nepalese government say they will now pay compensation to villagers who have lost family members or been injured in attacks.

A government official said he hoped these measure would help local Nepalis cope better with the annual migration of elephants to this area.



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