Lucknow, Feb 25 (IANS) One person was killed and several injured when a herd of elephants which had apparently strayed in from Nepal went on a rampage in a village in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh, officials said Thursday.
At least eight people were reported to be severely injured and crops worth thousands of rupees were damaged over the past two days, with the pachyderms trampling everything and anything that came in their path in the vicinity of the Katarniya Ghat Tiger Reserve, that falls under the extended part of Dudhwa National Park.
While the herd was stated to have moved back into Nepal, forest guards were put on alert to take necessary steps to thwart their movement into human habitation all around the park that is north India’s second largest wildlife reserve after Corbett National Park.
Dudhwa park deputy director Sanjay Pathak flatly refuted reports Wednesday of the death on account of trampling by elephants, even as local police insisted that the man had died due to trampling.
‘The body recovered from the park area does not appear to be that of a elephant victim; it looks like a case of murder,’ Pathak said.
Police, however, described it as a case of elephant trampling.
‘It is a clear cut case of death due to trampling by elephants,’ said Parshuram Goswami, sub inspector of Bansi Nagar Police outpost.
He identified the victim as 32-year-old Ram Gopal.
Bahraich divisional forest officer (DFO) R.K. Singh confirmed that a herd of elephants ‘did wander into Girijapuri colony of the irrigation department, where the animals broke down some gates and trampled over two walls’.
A top wildlife official in Lucknow admitted that it was not rare for herds of elephants to be rambling into the Indian side after crossing the Gerua river, but said that they usually just confine themselves to looking for food and return to their home.