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Elephant that killed owner gets company

A rogue male elephant that killed his owner in Mondulkiri on Monday was joined in the forest by two female elephants yesterday after they were released in an unsuccessful attempt to coax the bull home.

The bull elephant, Mai, killed his owner, Mob Sreng, 45, by reportedly goring him with his tusks. Yesterday, the victim’s family freed two female elephants from their pens to attract Mai to leave the forest.

“To catch Mai, we freed two female elephants to attract him since those two elephants still listen to the owner,” said the victim’s nephew, Chork Klot.

But according to To Meng, Sre Ampoum commune deputy police chief, the female elephants instead joined Mai in the forest and now are also refusing to return.

“I saw the female elephants staying with Mai near a stream not far from the place where it killed its owner,” Meng said, adding authorities “can’t go near” the elephants.

Nhoek Rattanakpich, director of the Phnom Tamao Zoo and Rescue Center, said yesterday that he sent three experts armed with tranquilisers, as well as rifles with live ammunition, to try to capture the rogue elephant.

“With the cooperation of locals, the Forestry Administration, and especially the victim’s family, I hope that our experts will manage to catch the elephant soon,” he said.

The team is still preparing to begin operations, citing a lack of knowledge of the geography of the forest. They are expected to confront the elephant today.

“We are not certain that we can catch it easily,” admitted Nhoek Thy, one of the operation members.

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