5 shocking videos of elephants killing people

These are not for the weak-hearted. In the Indian state of Kerala, temple elephants suddenly turn on their trainers and onlookers.

Elephants have been part of Kerala life since time immemorial. You see them in the cities, you see them working in the villages, and during temple festivals and even during church celebrations sometimes! Americans and Europeans who form a major part of the tourists who land up in the state called 'God's Own Country' have a great time climbing atop them, traveling short distances and participating in giving them a bath along with the mahout (trainer).

But the last few years have seen several elephants running loose, and attacking and injuring local people, often killing many.

They have chased and killed people, trampled their mahouts, overturned vehicles and pulled down temple structures. Even attacked other elephants.

Image: Caparisoned temple elephant attacks and kills his trainer

What makes the tusker go nuts?

Never truly domesticated

Kerala has around 600 elephants in captivity. 440 elephants are owned by private individuals. 160 are owned by temples. A single temple, Guruvayur, alone has 60 domesticated elephants. Domesticated is a misnomer, though. Elephants are never truly domesticated in the way that a dog is, and require a mahout with them all the time except when they are sleeping.

Not feeding them on time

They eat palm leaves and ripe bananas, along with a host of other fruits. An adult elephant is said to have an appetite to consume 140270 kg of food a day.

Making them walk on tarmac

Don't make them walk on tarmac for long. Tarmac gets hot in the summer, and their feet develop blisters if you do. An elephant with blisters on his foot is an angry elephant indeed.

Summer Heat

During temple festivals, they have to stand still for hours bedecked in gold headdresses. It would be hot. There would be a lot of musical instruments, megaphones and bursting of crackers. The use of crackers around elephants is banned, but people still do it - often driving the elephants crazy.

Bad trainers

Some trainers are very attached to their elephants and treat them well. But many others are illiterate, and sometimes think torturing an elephant will tell them animal who's the boss. With very unfortunate consequences.

Greedy owners

Each festival appearance is more money, and making elephants walk from temple to faraway temple in the hot sun is common.

Pesky people

Many think it is a great idea to poke or prod an elephant. Festivals mean a lot of drunk people are around, and they decide to have some fun at the elephant's expense. Needless to say, the exercise ends in scampering away at best after the tusker turns towards them at best, or in death at worst.

Musth - when it's time to mate

Sometimes the elephant is in 'musth' That's the time when the elephant wants to mate, and the period may last for a couple of months. At this time, the elephant is irritable and gets angry easily. Traditionally, elephants were not taken or temple work during this period, but greedy owners and mahouts often ignore it.

So should you worry about climbing on an elephant?

Not really. Tourists get the usually well-treated and happy elephants. They are fed well - they have to look good. There are even elephants that recognise a tourist by his camera and pose for him, raising their trunks.

You can feel good, after those vidoes of killings, by watching this totally chilled out elephant carrying tourists around the villages of Kerala!

A well-behaved elephant, named Manikandan. Treat them well, and this is how they are. Very relaxed, and happy to carry you on their backs. Just don't forget to feed them!


During the festival of Koodalmanikyam temple, elephant Unnikrishnan ran amok and killed the mahout Noushad, 40, Kousalya, 75 and Nitheesh 30. The jumbo, which continued the rampage for about two hours, was calmed down by the mahouts and chained.


Longer video of the above incident. You can see the angry elephant attacking the temple too. This is believed to be started when a smart dude decided to poke the already hot and irritated elephant.


Someone thought it was a cool idea to pester this elephant. He then ran away. He escaped, but the trainer was not so fortunate.

Here, you can see a caparisoned temple elephant shaking off the people on its back, and finally attacking the mahout killing him. Then it goes wild, while other people try to distract the elephant and save the mahout. No such luck. Finally he attacks another elephant. You can see the mahouts of other elephants trying to keep their animals calm and try to get away.


This elephant catches a mahout by his leg and flips him into the air, then banging him on the floor. The assistant mahouts are the ones who carry the dead trainer away.





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