Mysore: An elephant was seen charging through the streets of Mysore city this morning. Cars were damaged and several people were injured in the panic. One man - a security guard at an ATM - was killed by the elephant who then trampled a cow to death.
It took five hours for experts to be able to get close enough to the elephant to tranquilize him.
The trouble began last evening when four elephants were separated from their herd after villagers chased them away from their fields nearby.
Two elephants retreated towards the forests in the area, but the other two wandered into the city and were separated from each other near Bamboo Bazaar.
One was eventually trapped at a farm near Naidu Nagar; the other rushed through the city.
Wildlife officials say this is yet another case of elephants being forced to venture into human habitation because their natural habitat is being eroded.
"This belt around Mysore, the forest in that belt which are barely 50 km from Mysore harbour 2000 wild elephants. It is the largest population of Asian elephants. The movement of elephants out of the forest towards the sources of food has increased," said a wildlife official.
He also said the panic that set in quickly exacerbated the problem. "If left alone the police and the forest department will do a reasonable job of solving the problem reasonably quickly - but people behave very irrationally, form mobs and mob the animals - and after all these are wild animals. They are confined in a strange place, they are terrified with the noise and the mobs and then they do these things."