Wildlife guards in southern Nepal hunted Wednesday for a wild elephant that has killed 11 people over the past two weeks.

The elephant has killed people in three districts about 320 kilometres south of the capital, Kathmandu.

District Forest Officer Yadav Dhital said searchers have been unable to find any traces of the animal.

Dhital said local residents are scared of the animal, which keeps disappearing into the jungle. He said villagers have been using firecrackers, drums and smoke to scare the elephant away.

One person killed had tried to worship the animal as Ganesh, the elephant-headed Hindu god, Dhital said.

Elephants are regarded as a protected species in Nepal, and they may only be shot with orders from the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, said another government official.

The elephant is suspected of having recently crossed into Nepal from India.