Wild jumbos smash school building, scare children

December 5th, 2008 - 10:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Valparai (Tamil Nadu) Dec 5 (IANS) Schoolchildren in a town in Tamil Nadu were scared out of their wits when a herd of eight wild elephants entered their school and smashed property Friday, officials said. Besides leaving behind a trail of destruction, the elephants also consumed the stored rice.

Though the elephants retreated into the forest by themselves without injuring anyone, parents of the shaken children expressed anger and demanded action.

“We ought to have electric fences to prevent the entry of wild animals. We have zero insurance for such catastrophes and have no clue about our children’s immediate future or safety,” S. Kanagambaram, 32, mother of a schoolboy, told IANS.

Forest Range Officer G. Siva Mani, however, told IANS: “The animals have as much a right on earth as humans. Since some 60 percent of wild habitat has been encroached upon since 1929, where would the animals go for food? Further, this is a rare occurrence. The harmless animals merely sought food. One cannot blame animals for human errors of occupying exclusive animal territory.”

Valparai is some 500 km southwest of state capital Chennai at an altitude of 3,914 feet.

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