An elephant attacked a jeep ferrying tourists from a wildlife safari and injured all five of them at the famed Kaziranga National Park in Assam Monday.
‘A jeep carrying four of a family and the driver was returning from a wildlife safari when it came across a captive tusker owned by the park authorities standing with its mahout (handler) on the roadside. The vehicle stopped for a while and the elephant suddenly charged at the jeep, dragging it for about 50 metres,’ a park official said.
He said the incident occurred at the Kohora range of the Kaziranga National Park, 230 km east of Guwahati.
The jeep fell into a ditch and the tourists and the driver were injured.
‘We don’t really know what irritated the elephant and how the five people were injured,’ the official said.
The mahout finally managed to bring the elephant under control, but not before the pachyderm damaged the vehicle badly and also got its tusk broken into two pieces as it dashed against the jeep while pushing it.
The injured tourists were from Kolkata.
‘We have shifted the injured to a hospital. Doctors said the condition of at least two of them are serious although we don’t have much details as the hospital is about 35 km from the park,’ the official said.
Last year, a Dutch tourist was trampled to death by a wild elephant, while eight other foreign visitors had a miraculous escape.
A group of nine foreign tourists entered the 430 sq km park for bird watching and viewing primates when a lone rogue elephant charged at the visitors. The others escaped but 60-year-old Robert William was killed.
Kaziranga is home to the world’s largest concentration of one-horned rhinoceros. As per 2006 census figures, it is home to 1,855 of the world’s estimated 2,700 rhinos.