A herd of elephants has trampled to death a police officer in a central Vietnamese jungle.

The victim and two other men went into the jungle Saturday to look for apricot trees. The director of the elephant conservation center in Daklak province said more than 20 wild elephants attacked the men as they returned home that night.

Huynh Trung Luan said two of the men escaped unhurt. The 42-year-old policeman was found dead Sunday morning.

Luan said the herd became more aggressive after two of its members were killed by villagers in August.

There are an estimated 140 wild elephants in Vietnam, down dramatically several decades ago due to hunting.

Elephant tusks are used to make jewelry and home decoration.