An Indian elephant that has killed 15 people since March was finally killed Friday night.
Nawab Shafat Ali Khan — one of India’s best hunters — and his hunting team went after the elephant, shooting it point blank to ensure that it could not survive the bullets, according to Yahoo News. Indian authorities directed Khan and his men to take down the elephant after it killed 15 people in two Indian towns in March.
“If we had been hit by his trunk it could have been fatal. It was a dangerous operation,” Khan said, describing the hunt. “It was quite a difficult operation because of the thick bushes, and since the animal had turned rogue it charged at us before I pulled the trigger.”
Roughly 200 forest officials and villagers assisted in the hunt, but only Khan was allowed to shoot the elephant. The hunters had tried to tranquilize and capture the animal for a week, but after many unsuccessful attempts, officials gave the team permission to kill the elephant.
“This entire belt is inhabited by native tribal communities who have co-existed with wildlife for centuries, the elephant’s behavior — that he was literally stalking humans — is still a mystery,” Khan told reporters. “I prefer tranquilizing animals. But if it doesn’t happen, killing is the last resort.”
The elephant’s death comes a day before World Elephant Day, which falls every year on Aug. 12. The day has been celebrated since 2011 as a way to “spread awareness, share knowledge, and provide solutions for better care and management of both captive and wild elephants,” according to the organizer’s website.
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