CityNews – On March 11, rescue teams and local police in Mae Taeng were called to Elephant Nature Park after a Burmese mahout who had recently visited the centre in search for work and to meet with his brother, was trampled in the veterinary enclosure where a rescue elephant was being kept.
According to reports, the 10 year old female elephant known as Mee Sook, was rescued from an elephant riding camp in Krabi province. She had been brought to Elephant Nature Park, suffering from depression and anger after being abused and overworked in Krabi.
She was kept in quarantine while experts and mahouts helped rehabilitate her.
The young man who was trampled by Mee Sook was identified as 20-year-old San Tor Ni, a Burmese national who had visited the area to see his brother and look for work in an elephant camp.
After being refused work by Elephant Nature Park as he lacked the correct documentation, San Tor Ni allegedly stayed around the camp, working unofficially along with the other mahouts. According to the mahouts in the camp, San Tor Ni had been unofficially working at the park for just five days before the incident.
It is unknown whether the managers of Elephant Nature Park were aware that San Tor Ni was working unofficially or not.
An official statement released by the park said that the man killed by the elephant was not an employee of Elephant Nature Park, and they had no idea how he got inside the enclosure.
Elephant Nature Park often takes in foreigners as volunteers to help with the elephants in the camp. Resident mahouts told reporters that there is often new people around the elephants, helping with feeling, bathing, cleaning and basic care.
According to a Facebook post by the owner of Elephant Nature Park, Lek Chailert, on March 11, a number of mahouts heard strange noises coming from Mee Sook’s enclosure. After investigating the noise, they discovered the elephant standing over the body of a man.
It is believed that San Tor Ni sustained severe internal bleeding and several broken ribs after he was trampled by the elephant which he was trying to feed. The elephant was also allegedly more stressed and uneasy than usual.
The man’s family has been contacted and the owner of Elephant Nature Camp has said that the park will “look after them as much as [they] can, and help bring them to a better place than the sorrow felt this day.”