The “Rogue” elephant has killed at least 16 villagers in central India in the last two months after its herd rejected it because of its “bad nature”, a protection officer told AFP in the wild on Thursday.
The animal, an adult male, about 15 or 16 years old, went wild in the tribal area of Santhal Pargana in the state of Jharkhand after being rejected by his herd of 22 elephants.
“He is probably in the heat and has been rejected because of his bad temper or sexual rivalry with other men,” Satish Chandra Rai, director of the regional forestry service, told AFP.
“We are studying his behavior and a team of 20 officers is constantly trying to monitor him because our first priority is animal protection,” he said.
An elephant who wants to join his herd has managed to sow power.
On Tuesday, a pachyderm attacked an elderly couple, beating them with trunks. According to Mr. Rai, the elephant only killed people who happened to be in his way or provoked him by approaching him to photograph him.
“He didn’t break into homes or intentionally attack people,” Rai said. “We’re waiting to see if his flock will welcome him again. If not, he’ll show he’s a thief.”
India has about 30,000 wild Asian elephants, or almost 60% of the total wild population. In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of elephants killed by humans, but also by men killed by elephants as human activity encroaches on forest areas.