An exhausted elephant has reportedly ripped his owner in half using his tusks in the Thai province of Phang Nga after being forced to work under hot weather.
Officers from Takua Thung Police Station responded to a call about the elephant owner’s death at around 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday at a rubber plantation in the Tha Yu subdistrict.
Elephant Made to Carry Rubberwood in Extremely Hot Weather
Upon their arrival, authorities were informed that Pom Pam, a 20-year-old male elephant, had stabbed his owner, 32-year-old Supachai Wongfaed.
Wongfaed, the son of Thawon Wongfaed, Khok Charoen subdistrict’s former mayor, was found lying in a pool of blood with his body ripped in half and the mighty mammal standing over it, as reported by local news outlet Thaiger.
The elephant stabbed the owner with its tusks, the Thai news outlet reported. The elephant had been carrying rubberwood in extremely hot temperatures when it attacked. Police told The Thaiger that they suspect this is what caused it to turn on its owner.
According to the weather forecast of Phang Nga province for August, daytime temperatures can go as high as 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit on average. Authorities were called to the scene and they shot the elephant with a sedative dart from a range of around 500 metres so that rescue workers could retrieve Supachai’s body, which was later handed over to his relatives for his funeral.
Using Elephants to Carry Wood is Illegal
Although the practice of using elephants to carry wood through forested areas was banned by Thailand’s government in 1989, the practice still occurs in some areas around the country.
“[It] is yet another stark reminder that Asian elephants are and always remain wild animals that can attack and kill when they are abused or overly stressed by humans,” Duncan McNair, the CEO of the charity Save The Asian Elephants, told Newsweek. “They suffer deeply, psychologically as well as physically, when broken and forced into constant severe toil in logging and related activities.”
“Save The Asian Elephants has abundant evidence of approaching 2,000 human deaths and catastrophic injuries caused by captive elephants brutalized in unnatural forced activities including tourism,” McNair added.
While Thailand has almost 30 laws placed to protect elephants, they still reportedly suffer abuse at the hands of humans. Elephants are typically seen as good-natured animals, but they can potentially hurt humans if they feel unsafe or distressed. Last month, an elephant stabbed and killed its trainer in a similar incident that took place in Southern Thailand, as reported by Thaiger.