Wildlife officials are frantically hunting for a wild elephant which they believe is responsible for the deaths of 11 people in Nepal. The animal has gone on the rampage across three districts in the south of the country for more than two weeks.

One victim, an 18-year-old male, was killed while attempting to worship the animal as the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh. According to news site newkerala.com, two women and a seven-year-old girl have also been killed by the male beast.

"We don't plan to kill the marauding elephant as it is protected under CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)," said Yadav Dhital, District Forest Officer.

Mr Dhital said wildlife guards are struggling to track down the animal because it keeps disappearing into the jungle.

People living in villages are so scared of the creature they have dubbed "killer beast" that they are using smoke, fire crackers and drums to try to keep it away.

Bedh Karki, the area's government administrator, said local authorities are waiting for help and orders from the central government.

Elephants are considered protected species in Nepal and can be shot only with orders from the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Mr Karki added.

It is believed the elephant recently crossed into the country from neighboring India.