In what appears to be a case of elephants retaliating against humans, hundreds of villagers have taken refuge on boats in Bangladesh after their homes were destroyed by rampaging pachyderms, local officials said on Wednesday.
The elephants repeatedly raided their village at Barkal on the fringe of a forest in southeastern Bangladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts, pulling down houses and plundering crops.
Attempts to scare the beasts away by setting fires, blowing trumpets and setting off firecrackers failed.
“They come back almost every night and romp through human habitation, forcing many to flee,” one local official said.
Terrified, some 300 villagers -- including children -- took refuge on boats on Lake Rangamati, coming ashore only in daylight hours for food and other provisions.
“These people are farmers and loggers. Now they have no work or money,” one Barkal official told reporters.
At least 15 people are killed every year by elephants in Bangladesh because of human encroachment on natural habitats. Although Bangladesh has a forest cover of 17.5 percent, it is one of the world’s most densely populated nations.