Authorities in Nepal tranquilized an elephant and trimmed its tusks after it was blamed for a dozen deaths in the country’s east over the past six weeks, wildlife officials said on Sunday.
“We first darted the elephant with tranquilizers on Saturday and cut its tusks by a handsaw,” said Murari Prasad Pokharel, a senior forest officer from Sunsari district, about 125 miles east of Kathmandu, where the operation was carried out.
The rampaging elephant had killed at least 12 people in Sunsari, and neighboring Morang district since October.
“We shortened its tusks, treated a wound in one of its legs and released it back into the forest,” he said. “It was quite a work that took more two hours for three wildlife experts.”
Elephants are protected under Nepali law, which provides for jail sentences of up to 15 years for killing a pachyderm.
Nepal’s elephant population has dwindled to about 100.
Officials say habitat destruction and the disruption of migratory routes are likely to result in elephants entering villages and attacking people.