Drunk elephants electrocuted after rampage

October 23, 2007

clipped from www.msnbc.msn.com
Six Asiatic wild elephants were electrocuted as they went berserk after drinking rice beer in India’s remote northeast, a wildlife official said Tuesday.

Nearly 40 elephants came to a village on Friday looking for food. Some found beer, which farmers ferment and keep in plastic and tin drums in their huts, said Sunil Kumar, a state wildlife official.

They got drunk, uprooted a utility pole carrying power lines and were electrocuted in Chandan Nukat, a village nearly 150 miles west of Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya state, Kumar said.

The elephants are known to have a taste for rice beer brewed by tribal communities in India’s northeast. Four wild elephants died in similar circumstances in the region three years ago.

“It’s great to have such a huge number of elephants, but the increasing man-elephant conflict following the shrinkage in their habitat due to the growing human population is giving us nightmares,” said Pradyut Bordoloi, a former forest and environment minister for Assam.

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