PEKANBARU, Indonesia – Wild elephants trampled a man to death and destroyed several hectares of palm oil plantations and houses on Indonesia's Sumatra island, witnesses and a conservationist said Wednesday.
A group of some 30 elephants were searching for food in villages in Indragiri Hulu district of Riau province when one of them strayed and attacked a nearby camp used by plantation workers, said Syamsidar, a local World Wildlife Fund spokesman.
The elephant ran abruptly into the camp owned by giant pulp and paper company PT Indah Kiat, causing dozens of workers to flee in panic, said Nurul Huda, a company spokesman.
Widodo, a 24-year-old contract worker, was killed. His body was found late Monday.
"Some saw the giant animal trample him to death but they could not do anything to help him," Huda said. "It was a tragic conflict between human and animal."
The elephants also devoured crops and fruits as well as about 247 acres of rubber and palm oil plantations, said Syamsidar, who uses a single name.
Sumatra's elephant habitats are quickly shrinking due to illegal logging and land clearing. About 2,500 wild elephants are believed to live on the island, Indonesia's largest.
Riau province is about 600 miles northwest of the capital, Jakarta.