Indian elephant
An Indian man was crushed to death after he tried to take a selfie with a rouge elephant, after it had become separated from its herd REUTERS/David W Cerny

An Indian man was crushed to death while trying to take a selfie with a rogue elephant.

Ashok Bharti, a 30-year-old construction worker, was drunk but had gone to see the lone elephant, which had become separated from its herd on the outskirts of the Mandiakudar village, in eastern India.

Bharti did not pay attention to warnings from forest officials and approached the agitated animal to take a picture with it, when the jumbo charged and trampled him.

The builder, from Cuttack, a city in the eastern state of Odisha, was rushed to a nearby government hospital, but was pronounced dead by doctors shortly after.

"He had moved quite close to the elephant and was in a drunken state," a forest official told The Telegraph of India.

The official added: "We were trying to disperse the villagers from the spot, but no one listened to us. Suddenly, Bharati rushed towards the jumbo to take selfie, despite being warned by our staff."

Forest ranger Dillip Sahu said the fact that Bharti was drunk "might have made the jumbo more violent as elephants are highly sensitive to the smell of alcohol".

The elephant is part of a 10-strong herd, which has been roaming in the Rajgangpur forest range in the eastern state for the past couple of weeks.

Villagers had previously chased the herd away from their farm land, with the male jumbo becoming separated from the group as a result. This led to the elephant "moving around violently", said Sahu.

Elephant herds have been causing havoc in the forests of the Sundargarh district in Odisha for the past several weeks.

Last month, an enraged jumbo killed 37-year-old Pati Dhibar. He was a member of the district elephant drive squad, set up to protect locals and farm land. Dhibar was crushed by the elephant as tried to jump a barbed wire fence in a paddy field while driving away a jumbo herd.

The incident triggered protests among elephant drive guards, who demonstrated in front of the divisional forestry office in the eastern state, demanding beefed up security and higher compensation for the family of dead guards.