Elephant Accidentally Wanders Into Town, Gets Rocks Thrown At Her
There was no reason to treat her like an enemy.
On Wednesday, an elephant wandered into the Indian town of Siliguri from a nearby forest, the Associated Press reported. For several hours she ran around the town, damaging houses and cars in her wake.
It would be easy to view the episode as simply an out-of-control animal bent on destruction, but that was far from the case. She appeared to be lost, the Associated Press reported, and witnesses described her as scared and confused. She reportedly tried to stay away from the humans and didn't attack them.
The same couldn't be said for the town's residents.
According to the Associated Press, they threw stones at the elephant to keep her at bay, no doubt adding to her immense distress and bewilderment. Photos show the elephant with wounds and bleeding from her face, though it's not clear whether this was the result of her panic or the actions of the locals.
Fortunately, someone came in to help her. Forest officials were eventually able to use tranquilizers on the bewildered elephant and transported her to a nearby forest, Binay Krishna Barman, the West Bengal state forest minister, told AFP.
Unfortunately, conflicts between elephants and humans in India are becoming increasingly common due the loss of the elephants' habitat - and about 20 percent of the world's population live in or near an elephant's habitat. Settlements have cut into their migratory routes, leaving elephant populations isolated and unable to mingle, with no choice but to wander into villages or raid crops for food.
While locals were obviously bothered by this elephant, it's easy to forget that she was likely just as confused as they were - and probably much more scared.