"I was petrified when I was there," he said. "It's really more heartbreaking than petrifying. These guys (the villagers) are saying, 'Yes I'm scared of these elephants ... I either get trampled to death by an elephant or starve to death because he eats my food.'"
These villagers are also unable to protect themselves because as Hindus, they worship elephants and can't kill them. However, Salmoni said that local wildlife officials were granted special permission to take out one particularly violent female elephant that reportedly killed 17 people.
Her necropsy revealed that this herbivore had consumed human remains. Shocked, animal specialists believed that this elephant had been driven over the edge when her young calf was being chased in a rice field by villagers.
"I think maternal instinct is something we all relate to," Salmoni said. "We all know how a human mother would react if she has to protect her baby."
The best long-term solution would be to give these animals space to roam without being encumbered by the growing onslaught of humans. It's a difficult task in a country like India, where the population is a whopping 1.3 billion people.