Despite its popularity in zoos, and portrayal as gentle giants in fiction, elephants are among the world’s most dangerous animals. They can crush and kill any other land animal, even the rhinoceros. They can experience bouts of rage, and engage in actions that have been interpreted as vindictive.

In Africa, groups of young teenage elephants attacked human villages after cullings done in the 1970s and 80s. In India, male elephants attack villages at night, destroying homes and killing people regularly. In the Indian state of Jharkhand, 300 people were killed by elephants between 2000 and 2004, and in Assam, 239 people were reported killed by elephants between 2001 and 2006.


  1. Huggler, Justin (2006-10-12). “Animal Behaviour: Rogue Elephants”. London: The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/animal-behaviour-rogue-elephants-419678.html. Retrieved 2007-06-16.
  2. An Elephant Crackup?
  3. Highfield, Roger (2006-02-17). “Elephant rage: they never forgive, either”. Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/02/16/1140064206413.html. Retrieved 2007-06-16.