Elephant dies in agony after having ears set on fire in horrific video

An elephant has died after being set on fire and suffering horrific burns.

Villagers chucked a burning piece of tyre at the 40-year-old animal in a bid to scare it away in India.

But it got stuck on its ear which caused the creature to run away in "total agony", local media reported.

Shocking footage shows the male elephant set alight in Tamil Nadu, a state in southern India.

Huge flames burn the side of its head as it desperately tries to flee the scene on Tuesday.

Disturbing footage also shows the men throwing burning objects at it in the moments before the tyre got stuck.

The mammal suffered severe burns on the back and ear, according to India Today.

Forest rangers found it in a very weak condition and tried to take it to an elephant camp for medical treatment.

They used tranquilisers and Kumki elephants – trained captive elephants – to catch it.

But it sadly died during the journey.

Three men – named as Prasath, Raymond Dean and Ricky Rayan – have been accused of setting the animal on fire.

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Authorities said two people have been arrested by police while the third is yet to be detained.

An official said: "The third accused is not in station. So the two persons detained were arrested today and will be sent for remand."

Further inquiries are being carried out into the incident.

It comes after a 15-year-old male elephant was electrocuted to death in nearby Coimbatore, India earlier this month.

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Forest department officials found its body stuck in an electric fence on farmland, according to The Times Now channel.

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Asian elephants are classified as endangered with only 40,000 to 50,000 left in the wild.

Numbers have dropped by at least half over the last three generations and they are still in decline today, it says.

The organisation states that it is "critical to conserve both African and Asian elephants" as they "play such a vital role in their ecosystems".

They also contribute towards tourism and community incomes in many areas, it added.

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