A 69-year-old man was seriously injured after he was trampled by an elephant on Gerik-Jeli East-West Highway between Perak and Kelantan in Malaysia on Thursday.
The victim, who has been identified as M Paramanazan, fractured his left arm and rib and injured his right arm in the accident that took place at about 4.30 pm. Gerik police chief Superintendent Ismail Che Isa said that the victim has broken one of the bones in his neck after he was trampled by the animal near a memorial monument along the highway.
"Paramanazan and his son, in his 40s, were travelling to Gerik through the JRTB (Gerik-Jeli East-West Highway) route. When they reached the memorial, the victim, who wanted a close-up view of the elephant, got down from the lorry," Supt Ismail told Bernama.
"However, he was suddenly chased and trampled by the elephant when he tried to approach the animal," he added.
Paramanazan was first taken to Gerik Hospital by his son, who was driving the lorry. Later, he was shifted to Taiping Hospital for follow-up treatment.
Encounters between wild animals and human beings have become quite common in Malaysian highways. In December 2017, a sun bear was killed after being hit by a motorcyclist in Terengganu, Malaysia. The man escaped with minor injuries.
The bear weighed about 100 kg and was killed upon impact, after which its carcass was taken to the State Wildlife Department.
Motorcyclists and travellers have been warned to look out for wild animals in highways, especially after dark, as they often roam in those areas, especially around the Kuala Dungun interchange.
According to environmentalists, these unfortunate incidences between man and animal occur mainly as our species has encroached upon their habitat, creating settlements in and around their natural homes. The size of the animal generally decides who will get hurt, it or the man.