Attacks by Elephants, Tigers Rise in India

In some cases, humans have become prey
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2011 7:08 PM CST
Attacks by Elephants, Tigers Rise in India
A female wild elephant lays dead at the Sukna Forest, in the eastern Indian state of West Bengal, in 2008. Forest officials said the elephant and her calf were likely poisoned.   (AP Photo/Tarun Das)

In parts of India such as the Sundarban Islands of West Bengal, humans are encroaching more than ever into the habitat of local wildlife. But here, the familiar story has a twist: elephants and tigers are responding by killing and even eating humans, ABC News reports. The latter is a rarity even for a carnivore like the tiger, but starvation has pushed them to extremes. Tiger attacks are up 30% over the past decade.

"They're creating a culture of man-eating where moms are teaching cubs, people are easy prey," says one wildlife expert. As for elephants, they've begun wandering onto farms. When locals try to chase them away, they sometimes trigger fatal stampedes. In one case, after a particularly violent elephant was killed, wildlife officials found human remains in her stomach. Animal experts believe the elephant had been getting revenge for an episode in which her calf was chased into a rice field by locals. (Read more India stories.)

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