NEW DELHI – An elephant rampaged through a village in northern India on Thursday, killing at least seven people and injuring 24 others who tried to surround it, a wildlife official said.
The deaths were reported after a female elephant entered the village of Bhudaheda on the edge of the Jim Corbett National Park, said Srikant Chandola, the park's chief wildlife officer.
Belinda Wright, director of the Wildlife Protection Society of India, said the elephant had apparently become separated from its herd and entered the village.
"The people have surrounded it and they are just shouting and screaming at the elephant and the elephant is going berserk," she said by telephone.
After the animal treaded on some crops, people tried to frighten it away by beating drums, Chandola said. That's when the animal started trampling people.
Wright said a member of her group was in the village and could see at least four bodies. She said the elephant had been shot twice by police but was still running amok.
Amit Chandola, a spokesman for the government of Uttarakhand state, where the park is located, said that wildlife officials had now been ordered to shoot and kill the elephant.
The park, one of India's most popular, is about 370 miles east of New Delhi.
There have been a number of recent incidents in which villagers have been killed by wild animals as their natural habitats shrink and they have to range further for food. India's national parks also suffer massive encroachment from people who live and forage for food in the forests or graze their cattle inside.