Villagers flee as elephants run amok

Dozens of residents of Pauhranap village, Peranap district, Indragiri Hulu regency, Riau, have left their village for the last three days to avoid rampaging wild elephants.

Peranap district head Hariyadi said Wednesday some 50 people had fled to a neighboring village after their village was ransacked by elephants.

The villagers had tried to stay put and rebuild their houses damaged or destroyed by the elephants, while attempting to scare off the protected animals with loud noises and campfires, he added.

However, their efforts did not work as the number of elephants storming the village continued to increase throughout the day.

“They can no longer stand facing prolonged terror by the elephants. They have always been frightened and their safety is increasingly under threat,” Hariyadi told The Jakarta Post.

“Some villagers are seeking shelter at their families’ homes, while others have opted to establish huts at [neighboring] Lubuk Kandis village, which they believe is safe from elephant attack,” he added.

According to the district chief, the conflict between human and elephant at Pauhranap village has been going on for a long time, claiming several lives.

Last September, 27-year old plantation guard Rinto Lumbangaol was trampled to death by elephants.

“Local residents are worried that such a tragic incident might happen again,” Hariyadi said.