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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Man takes selfie with two elephants trampled to death

A 27-year-old man in south India was trampled to death by a wild elephant while trying to take a selfie after spotting a pair of the animals while relieving himself near a hill.

E. Ramkumar, from Kattu Kollai village, Krishnagiri district, Tamil Nadu state, died on the spot from his injuries on Tuesday evening Indian times reported.

Forest officials were immediately called to the scene. One told local media that the two elephants came out of the Palacode reserve forest when Ramkumar tried to photograph them.

“Suddenly one of the elephants charged at him and trampled him to death,” they said.

Elephants are the world’s largest land mammals, although the Asian elephant is slightly smaller than its African cousin. According to the World Wildlife Fund, Asian elephants can grow up to 11 feet tall, 21 feet long and weigh up to 5 tons.

Asian elephants are found throughout India and Southeast Asia, but about a third of their population lives in captivity. According to National Geographic, only 20,000 to 40,000 Asian elephants remain in the wild. Therefore, the species is classified as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

Asian elephant populations have declined by about 50 percent over the past 75 years, largely due to habitat loss from deforestation and the illegal pet trade. Due to habitat loss, wild elephants are often forced to seek food alternatives from farms and human settlements, leading to increased animal-human conflict.

Elephants are usually peaceful creatures, but can become aggressive if they feel harassed, vulnerable, or threatened. According to the country’s Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, about 500 people are killed by elephants each year in India alone.

Following Tuesday night’s tragedy, the local forest authority launched an awareness campaign about the dangers of getting too close to wild animals. The department not only warns against venturing into the forest in the evenings and early mornings, but also advises against taking selfies or other photos with the animals.

R. Krishnamoorthy, a local wildlife activist, told the India-Asian news service: ‚ÄúPeople should not unnecessarily provoke wild animals. The case here of the young lad taking a selfie in front of two wild elephants is never acceptable. The elephant doesn’t know if the man was out to harm him or not, and of course his basic instinct will be to attack.

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