Rangers in India fire shot at elephant chasing them

This is the shocking moment Indian forest officials fired directly at an elephant to drive it back into a nearby forest, breaking local conservation rules.

The incident, which took place in the Bandipur forest in the southern state of Karnataka, on March 7, fortunately left the elephant unhurt as the bullet ricocheted off the metal fence and missed the target.

However, terrified by the warning shot, the elephant backed off immediately and almost fell into a pit while retreating.

A villager had earlier spotted the animal trying to cross a metal fence at the edge of the forest and informed the forest department.

Getting an alert, a team of forest officials had gone to stop the elephant from crossing the fence, when it started chasing their vehicle.

The team driver panicked and reversed away while one ranger with a gun, who wanted to fire a warning shot in the air, ended up firing at the elephant instead.

Rangers are allowed to use fireworks or gunshots into the air to deter elephants, but not at the animals where there is risk of injury.

Sources in the forest department said the ranger who fired the shot has been dismissed, while the rest of the team including the filmer, Umesh are under investigation. The video has been provided with permission by forest officials.

"It was a serious lapse, the elephant escaped without any injury," said one officer.