Wild elephants kill 3 villagers
News 24 October 9, 2006 Colombo
Wild elephants dragged two women and a seven-year-old girl out of their huts and then crushed them to death in a village in eastern Sri Lanka, police said on Monday.
The elephants entered the village of Mohinipuram in Ampara district at dusk on Sunday, charging at residents and creating panic among villagers, local police officer AWA Gafar said. He said the elephants pulled the victims from their homes then killed them.
Wild elephants are increasingly entering villages in search of food as deforestation destroys their natural habitats. Rampaging elephants have killed around 90 people in Sri Lanka since early 2005, and villagers have destroyed more than 150 of the animals by shooting or electrocuting them, according to government figures.
Earlier this year, the government said it would capture destructive elephants and tame them before putting them to work for the conservation department or to promote tourism. A century ago, 10 000 to 15 000 elephants roamed wild in Sri Lanka, but today only about 3 000 remain, largely due to poaching and habitat loss.