“The elephant strayed from its herd and lost its way from a nearby forest into Siliguri, creating panic in the town for nearly five hours,” West Bengal State Forest Minister Binay Krishna Barman said.
“The animal knocked down nearly 100 houses and vehicles as it ran loose on the streets,” he said.
People in the town threw stones to try and drive away the elephant, before forest officials fired tranquillizer darts to bring it under control and used a crane to lift the animal for transportation.
“It was transported to Sukna forest bordering Siliguri town,” the minister added.
Siliguri, gateway to the hill station of Darjeeling, is teeming with elephants and some have been killed by trains while crossing tracks running alongside forests.
Wildlife experts said the destruction of elephant habitats was a major reason for encounters between humans and the animals mostly in India’s rural areas.