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Elephant kills owner in Mondulkiri

A 45-year-old man in Mondulkiri province was attacked and killed by his 37-year-old male elephant yesterday as he attempted to force the animal to return home after it had gone missing for several days. To Meng, Sre Ampoum commune deputy police chief, said that villager Mob Sreng was attacked when he and his nephew tried to catch the elephant, named Mai, to take him home.

A few days earlier, the elephant had become agitated and ran away. “The elephant herder victim was stabbed with the tusks in the ribs and groin,” Meng said, adding that the elephant then used its trunk to pick up the man and toss him to the ground, causing instant death. After the fatal incident, the elephant charged at some vans along the road near Bousraa Waterfall, frightening tourists, he said.

Svay Sam Eang, Mondulkiri provincial governor, ordered armed forces to help maintain security and safety. He said Sreng’s relatives told him to order his forces to shoot the elephant, but the request was denied.

“The elephant is a rare animal and is endangered,” he said. “The government has listed [the animal] as a protected species, so we cannot kill it.”

Sam Eang yesterday ordered experts and the provincial Forestry Administration to search for the animal and bring it back alive to be housed at a national park or forest in Mondulkiri.

Tuy Serei Vattana, director of Fauna and Flora International in Cambodia, said his team was tracing the elephant and studying its background. Nick Marx, animal rescue director for Wildlife Alliance, said the elephant was undergoing a condition known as musth, which can be dangerous, and would require it to be chained until subdued.

Additional reporting by Yesenia Amaro

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