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Elephant Named After Bin Laden Shot Dead

Villagers and hunters look on at a male elephant nicknamed Laden that was killed by a hunter at the Behali tea plantation in Sonitpur district, 150 miles north of Gauhati, India, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006. Authorities in India's remote northeast gave orders to hunt down and kill the rogue elephant blamed for 14 deaths that had been nicknamed Laden by fearful villagers, after the al Qaeda leader.(
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Sharpshooters in India's northeast have killed a rogue elephant blamed for 14 deaths in the region and was so feared that villagers named him after Osama bin Laden, wildlife officials said Sunday.

"Dipen Phukan, a licensed shooter, shot and killed the 10 foot tall bull near the Behali forest reserve in northern Assam," wildlife warden Chandan Bora said.

Wildlife authorities had ordered that the elephant be shot and killed by December 31.

The order came after the bull, dubbed "Laden" — which has twice evaded attempts to kill him — was blamed for the death of a woman Wednesday near the thickly wooded evergreen jungle where it lives.

Behali is about 150 miles northeast of Gauhati, the state capital.

Conflicts between humans and elephants have escalated in northeastern India in recent years as the destruction of the elephants' natural habitat has expanded, forcing them to forage for food in human areas.

In the past five years, more than 250 people have been killed in Assam by elephants, while angry villagers killed 268 elephants during the same period. Assam is estimated to have 5,300 Asiatic elephants.

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