updated 02/28/2011 AT 2:09 PM ET
•originally published 02/28/2011 AT 2:00 PM ET
Elephants in the wild are peaceful herbivores, but in one village in India, an elephant had to be chased and killed after it killed 17 people and ate human flesh.
As part of a new miniseries, World’s Deadliest Towns, Animal Planet’s large predator expert and host of Fatal Attractions Dave Salmoni went to that village and documented the dangerous relationship between the villagers and the elephants.
“There were herds of people chasing herds of elephants,” Salmoni tells PEOPLEPets.com. “It was the very first time I pulled a camera crew out of a situation.”
Tracking the world’s deadliest towns was challenging even for a man who’s day job involves working with lions and tigers. The miniseries took Salmoni to a rural Indian community that lives with tiger attacks, and to Zambia, where hippo attacks are part of daily life.
“There was a lot of times my life was in danger, there’s no question,” Salmoni says. “I’m used to working with animals, but I’m used to working with them where I have control over the situation.”
In the case of the elephants, Salmoni felt heartbreak for the humans, whose crops were damaged and whose livelihoods were threatened constantly, but also for the animals.
“You’ve got an animal like an elephant who’s very intelligent,” Salmoni says. “They’re being pushed around and pushed around and pushed around. You’ve got an animal that has no idea where their home is anymore, no idea where their food source is anymore, just looking for a place to not be chased.”
Catch all three episodes of World’s Deadliest Towns and see new episodes of Fatal Attractions on Animal Planet.
Read more about Dave Salmoni on PEOPLEPets.com:
Dave Salmoni: Don’t Keep Wild Animals As Pets
Animal Planet’s Dave Salmoni Risks His Life to Tame Ferocious Lions