Elephant’s final stampede: Fearless handler’s mysterious forest demise in Buriram

Photo: KhaoSod.

A 61 year old volunteer elephant handler, known for his fearlessness around elephants, mysteriously vanished and was later discovered dead after being trampled by a wild elephant in the heart of a forest in Buriram Province.

The grim discovery was made today by Chakkraphan Sukterm, Deputy Inspector (Investigator) of Non Din Daeng Police Station.

The deceased, named Thuep (surname withheld), was a volunteer elephant handler in his village. Preliminary investigations reveal that he left home on a motorcycle to search for forest goods in the large Dong forest on the morning of October 4 and then went missing.

The village headman and villagers set out to look for him, suspecting he might have lost his way in the forest.

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Later, someone found his motorcycle parked at the Chao Pa Base in the large Dong Yai forest area on the Buriram Province side before initiating a nearby search.

Thuep’s body was found about 30 metres away from his motorcycle. His body bore several signs of assault, and his belongings were scattered around the area.

Numerous elephant footprints were found nearby, leading to the assumption that he was attacked by an elephant while searching for forest goods, reported KhaoSod.

According to Phongphat Chamkhamwang, the assistant village headman of Moo 8, Lam Nang Rong, the deceased was a volunteer member of the village’s wild elephant chaser team. He was known for his fearlessness around wild elephants, often shouting to scare them away.

It is believed that Thuep might have used the same approach when he encountered the wild elephant, leading to his tragic death.

Elephant attacks have become increasingly common, with a tragic incident occurring just a few months ago. In Rayong, a woman lost her life when she was fatally trampled by a wild elephant, despite the efforts of wildlife officials who fired two magazines of bullets in an attempt to halt the charging animal. Read more HERE.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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