Nepal soldiers hunt for killer elephant

KATHMANDU, Dec 17 (Reuters) - Soldiers in Nepal are on the

hunt for a wild elephant after it strayed into villages in the

southern part of the Himalayan nation and killed four people in

three months, officials said on Monday.

The elephant walked into a thatched house in Gardi village

adjoining Chitwan National Park, 82 km (50 miles) south of

Kathmandu on Saturday, pulled an elderly couple from bed and

trampled them to death, said Shiva Ram Gelal, assistant district

administrator from Bharatpur, the nearest city.

Park officials say the same beast killed two other villagers

fewer than three months ago.

"We have given orders to the army to shoot the elephant that

has gone mad," Gelal told Reuters. "Soldiers are now searching

for it."

Nepal has about 300 elephants, including more than 100

domesticated ones which are used by hotels and national parks to

take tourists on jungle ride to watch wild animals like

one-horned Asian rhinoceroses and Royal Bengal Tigers.

Elephants are protected by law and anyone convicted for

killing one faces up to 15 years in jail, but Gelal said the

Local Administration Act, a Nepali law, allowed authorities to

kill the animal if it was responsible for the loss of human

life.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma)

MOST POPULAR IN SCI-TECH