Elephants Take Revenge: Angry Herd Storms Indian Villages, Smashes Homes After Train Kills One Of Their Own [VIDEO]
Elephants take revenge in India after one of their own was struck and killed by a train. The angry herd of 15 elephants has stormed villages near Chanbad, a city in the Indian state of Jharkhand, smashing homes and demolishing part of a school. It appears to be an act of elephant revenge.
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Last week, a Kolkata-Delhi Duronto Express train hit an elephant near Matari railway station and killed it. The unfortunate accident would have gone relatively overlooked had the deceased elephant's herd not formed a vigil at the site of their companion's death.
The elephants were apparently in mourning after the death of their herd member. But more elephants on and around the tracks hampered train traffic, and a squad of elephant chasers was called in to clear the area. According to The Times of India, railway disasters management team and villagers even lit firecrackers and banged drums to shoo the elephants away, but the animals just kept returning to the railroad tracks.
"Elephants often try to return to the site of such accidents as they believe that their mate has only been injured and could be rescued by them," wildlife activist D. S. Srivastava told The Times of India. "Even when an elephant dies a natural death, their friends cover the body with bushes and small tree branches."
According to TreeHugger, as India continues to develop its infrastructure, including it's railways and roads, accidents like the one that sparked the elephants to take revenge are becoming more and more common. Since 2010 alone, at least 50 elephants have been killed by trains in India.
The elephant is the world's largest land animal. They can live to be over 60 years old, reach heights up to 9.8 feet and can weigh as much as 5.5 tons. They travel in groups called herds.
It's long been known that elephants can become aggressive when protecting their territory, competing for food, or when a male's testosterone level peaks during a bull's maturation. But another, more recently documented phenomenon triggering elephant aggression is revenge.
According to a 2006 study published in New Science magazine, frequent reports of elephants attacking villages may be the result of years of abuse and mistreatment -- in essence, a form of elephant justice.
"They are certainly intelligent enough and have good enough memories to take revenge," Joyce Poole, from the Amboseli Elephant Research Project in Kenya, told New Scientist. "Wildlife managers may feel that it is easier to just shoot so-called 'problem' elephants than face people's wrath.
She continued: "So an elephant is shot without [hunters] realizing the possible consequences on the remaining family members and the very real possibility of stimulating a cycle of violence."
Here's a video of an apparent elephant revenge attack:
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