AR-News: "Killer elephant" found not guilty

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Tue Jun 15 10:47:32 EDT 2004



http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/06/14/welep14.xml&sSheet=/news/2004/06/14/ixworld.html
 
'Killer elephant' not guilty
By Rahul Bedi in New Delhi
(Filed: 14/06/2004) 


A rogue elephant which was to have been put down for allegedly killing more than 20 people in India's Jharkhand state has won a reprieve on the grounds of insufficient evidence of its guilt.

Forest officials said there were at least 18 other elephants of similar size and age living in several villages on the outskirts of the steel city of Jameshedpur that could have been responsible for the killings over the past five months. Expert trackers will now investigate whether this particular animal was responsible for trampling all 20 people to death.
"The death penalty on the basis of hearsay by villagers will be unfair to the animal," chief wildlife warden U R Biswas said yesterday, adding that it was difficult for villagers to conclusively identify the rogue animal.

According to the Wildlife Department, elephants attracted to the villages by the smell of moonshine frequently attacked the liquor bins, got drunk and then trampled anyone who got in their way.

Herds of elephants have been known similarly to plunder rum, sugar and flour regularly from an army supply base in the nearby Bengal state after short-circuiting the electrified fence by dropping trees on it and dousing the fires lit around the encampment to scare them away.

They break open rum bottles by knocking them against hard surfaces and empty the contents down their throats before returning to the jungle.
 



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