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Soldiers hunt for 'mad' elephant that killed 4 in Nepal

Soldiers in Nepal hunted for a wild elephant on Monday after it strayed into villages in the southern part of the Himalayan nation and killed four people over three months, officials said.

On Saturday, the elephant walked into a thatched house in Gardi village adjoining Chitwan National Park, 50 miles south of Kathmandu, pulled an elderly couple from bed and trampled them to death, said Shiva Ram Gelal, assistant district administrator from Bharatpur, the nearest city.

The same animal killed two other villagers within the last three months, park officials said.

"We have given orders to the army to shoot the elephant that has gone mad," Gelal told Reuters. "Soldiers are now searching for it."

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Nepal has about 300 elephants, including more than 100 domesticated ones which are used by hotels and national parks to take tourists on jungle rides to watch wild animals like one-horned Asian rhinoceroses and Bengal tigers.

Elephants are protected by law and anyone convicted for killing one faces up to 15 years in jail.

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However, Gelal said the Local Administration Act, a Nepali law, allowed authorities to kill the animal if it was responsible for the loss of human life.

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