Elephants Kill Mother, Child

JAKARTA ~ Wild elephants killed a woman and her child when they trampled a village in Sumatra, a local park ranger said.

The woman and her three-year-old infant were killed inside their homes when the herd charged through the village on the edge of a national park, said Diah Kurani from the authority managing the park.

“The herd of some five to six elephants wreaked havoc in a small settlement on the rim of the forest just outside the Bukit Barisan Selatan national park on Friday leaving two people killed inside one of the houses,” she said on Monday.

Kurani said park rangers and other officials had repeatedly urged residents to relocate because their village had been built in the animals’ habitat.

“The local people have been warned that elephants will periodically pass through the area,” Kurani said.

She said most villagers fled on Friday when they saw the herd approaching but a man later reported his wife and their youngest child were missing.

Environmental group WWF has said elephants in Sumatra, one of two Indonesian islands where they are found, are dying at an alarming pace, with numbers dropping by 75 percent in just 18 years.

As of 2003, only about 350 to 430 wild elephants remained on the island, it said. Their natural habitat is being increasingly taken over by encroaching settlements, plantations and industrial estates.

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