JAKARTA, Indonesia – A man was trampled to death and a home destroyed after 16 wild elephants rampaged through a village on Indonesia's Sumatra island, officials said Wednesday.
Villagers in Aceh province's Cot Pangee tried for days to scare away the elephants, yelling and making loud noises, but the animals instead became more aggressive, said Andi Basrul, of the Conservation and Natural Resources Agency.
Over the weekend, one elephant trampled to death a 30-year-old man and a group of 15 animals destroyed a house and tore through several acres of farmland Tuesday, he said.
Authorities Wednesday were still trying to chase the elephants back into the forest, but heavy rain and flooding were hampering those efforts, Basrul said.
Environmentalists have blamed illegal logging and farming for the destruction of endangered animals' natural habitats, forcing starving elephants to scour elsewhere for food.
Villagers say they have increasingly been terrorized by the animals. In May 2007, wild elephants searching for food in a village inside the Bukit Barisan National Park on Sumatra island trampled to death a woman and her 3-year-old daughter.
In October 2007, a wild elephant stepped on the head of a 14-year-old boy and killed him after the teenager's motorbike hit the animal on Sumatra island, where most of the country's 2,500 wild animals live.