Injured wild elephant kills rescuer

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An injured elephant killed a member of the rescue team that was trying to help it in Kuiburi National Park. Mr Boonchu Totaem, a wild elephant observation officer with the Wildlife Conservation Department, was nursing the injured elephant when it suddenly attacked him and stomped him to death.

Wildlife rescue workers found the elephant with a swollen leg that was roaring in pain near a mango plantation on 10 December. Aged between 20-25 years and weighing about three tonnes, the elephant was in agony when Huai Sai (Cha-am) animal rescue team arrived.

Veterinarian Pawinee Kaewkam immediately gave anti-inflammatory drug to stop pain and reduce swelling of the leg. The drug was given orally being inserted in a pineapple and fed to the elephant. According to Director of the Phetchaburi Wildlife Conservation Department, Phichai Watcharawongpaiboon, the medicated elephant was slowly recovering and being monitored closely by veterinarians.

But the next day in its recovery was when the tragic attack happened. It was heart-breaking for rescuer Boonchu’s family and his animal rescue team that the man was killed by the animal he was trying to help.

Mr Boonchu’s funeral was attended by Dr Yuthapon Angkinan, advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, Director-General of the National Park Service Thanya Netithamakul, colleagues and veterinarians. Director Phichai gave 10,000 baht contribution to help Boonchu’s family.

The organisation is also requesting continuous financial support for the family. Kui Buri National Park staff assisted in arranging the funeral that received Royal cremation recognition.

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