Just days after a frightened leopard strayed into a school in the southern Indian city of Bangalore, residents in another part of the country experienced a close wildlife encounter of their own when an elephant trampled through their village.  

The large animal reportedly destroyed huts, fences and vehicles in the West Bengal town of Siliguri after emerging from a neighbouring forest. The upheaval lasted for hours until wildlife authorities were finally able to tranquilise the elephant, before using cranes to relocate it to an animal rescue facility. It will be released back into the wild once it recovers from the ordeal, reports say.


Although no serious injuries were reported, both of these recent incidents underscore the growing conflict between humans and wildlife across India. As its human population grows and forest cover shrinks, large (and potentially destructive) animals like elephants are simply running out of room. 

Dangerous encounters like this one are the result – and they're becoming increasingly common across the country. Experts say habitat destruction is a major factor, and elephants in particular are prone to invading nearby villages when suitable food and space become scarce.

Asian elephants are listed as endangered by the IUCN, and are also threatened by poaching and illegal trade.


Top header image: Drriss & Marrionn, Flickr