Killer Elephant Hunted As Four Villagers Die

Soldiers in Nepal are hunting a "mad" wild elephant after it strayed into villages and killed four people in recent months, officials said.

In the latest tragedy, the animal walked into a thatched house in Gardi village next to Chitwan National Park, pulled an elderly couple from their bed and trampled them to death.

Officials said the same elephant killed two other villagers less than three months ago.

"We have given orders to the army to shoot the elephant that has gone mad. Soldiers are now searching for it", said Shiva Ram Gelal, assistant district administrator from Bharatpur.

Nepal has about 300 elephants, including more than 100 domesticated ones.

They are used by hotels and national parks to take tourists on jungle rides to watch wild animals such as rhinoceroses.

Elephants are protected by law and anyone convicted for killing one faces up to 15 years in jail.

But Mr Gelal said the local administration act, a Nepali law, allowed authorities to kill an animal if it was responsible for the loss of human life.