NEW DELHI - An elephant trampled four people including a 12-year-old girl to death when it rampaged through a village in southern India on Friday, police said. The girl was sleeping when the elephant strayed into the village early Friday, also wounding her parents who are receiving treatment.

Two women and an elderly man were also trampled to death in the incident in the state of Tamil Nadu.

“The same elephant had strayed to this locality two days back and injured one person,” said Coimbatore police sub inspector Vijayan, who goes by only one name.

“This morning it returned, and left four persons dead and another two injured,” he told AFP by phone.

Wildlife experts say encounters between humans and elephants are increasing in India’s rural areas due to the destruction of the animals’ habitat.

Last year a herd of wild elephants went on an hours-long rampage in neighbouring West Bengal, killing five people and damaging vehicles and homes before being subdued with tranquilliser darts.

Police and forestry workers said they had caught and tranquillised the elephant before moving it deeper into the forest to try to prevent a repeat.0