Kids might get a kick out of living Swiss Family Robinson-style for a spell, but in Renudih it's hardly a lark. Over the past three years 27 people have been killed by stampeding elephants, and several women have been forced to give birth in the treetops, without medical care. Villagers are only free to come down from the trees during the daytime, when the elephant attacks cease. Officials say hundreds of other forest villages in the region are also regularly trampled by irate pachyderms. "When I visit [the villages], I feel like I'm visiting a war-torn place," says Shashi Bhushan, an activist for the People's Union for Civil Liberties. The elephants are agitated because the lack of food in their own natural habitats has forced them to stray into human villages; when the locals resist, the elephants get mad. Meanwhile, the Indian government seems capable of little more than punning. "The problem is elephantine and there is no shortcut solution," says elephant-affairs official H.W. Pandey. A few days in a tree might change his tune.