Lovesick Wild Elephant Finally Gets His Girl

By Tim McGirk, The Independent - dateline New Delhi

An Indian man was trampled to death trying to break up a love affair between a tame elephant and her wild 3,600 kilogram suitor from the jungles of south Bihar.

The irresistible force of love between elephants is something the villagers of Gumla, in northern India, wish they had avoided. It is rare for wild elephants to develop crushes on domesticated pachyderms.

But when a bull elephant happened to spy an attractive she-elephant named Madhubala, it was, well, love at first sight.

Even though Madhubala was chained to a tree, the bull elephant refused to leave her. At first the villagers tried to lure away the heavyweight stranger with a banana bribe. It was not food the elephant had on his mind.

Angry and scared, villagers and police began tossing firecrackers and flaming sticks at the wild male. As the furious elephant charged back to the jungle, he crushed a forest ranger, killing him.

The bull elephant's retreat was only tactical. The lovesick male sneaked back later that night and freed Madhubala by smashing her chains. The two lovers eloped.

Madhubala's keeper tracked her down in the jungle after a week and brought her back to the village. The she-elephant, alas, remained lovelorn. She even turned up her trunk at a bunch of bananas, her favorite food. Finally, her plaintive trumpet calls were answered.

The avenging lover swept down on the village like an army tank. Press reports said the elephant "returned to Gumla in a rage, demolishing walls and anything that stood between him and Madhubala. The act, many said, would have done credit to any film hero who had been denied his love."

The reunited elephants slipped off into the dense trees. This time, the elephant-keeper is in no hurry to bring her - and her troublemaking boyfriend - back again.