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'Killer' elephant finds new home at zoo

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An elephant that ran amok in Koh Kong province is transported to a wildlife sanctuary yesterday. Photograph supplied

A wild elephant that destroyed crops and injured cattle in Koh Kong province, was also responsible for a man’s death four months ago, villagers in Butum Sakor district said yesterday.

The male elephant, which weighs 2.5 tonnes and is thought to be aged 15-16 years, arrived yesterday at the Phnom Tamao Zoological Park after it was tranquilised by conservationists and officers from Wildlife Alliance and Forestry Administration on Saturday.

Kheang Ying, the deputy commune chief in Andong Teuk, Butum Sakor district, said his 50-year-old cousin was stepped on and killed by the same elephant four months ago while looking for rubber in the Butum Wildlife Sanctuary.

“Since then, the villagers were afraid of this elephant, because it destroyed the crops and killed the cattle,” he said.

The wife of the victim, Hin Yeng, said yesterday she was pleased to hear wildlife officials had captured the animal.

Butum Sakor district chief of police, Heng Savoeun, told the Post he and other villagers used to see the animal walking peacefully in a group of six other elephants and that its destructive behaviour was a recent problem.

“In the last few months, we saw only this wild male elephant causing problems for the villagers and the traffic along the National Road 48,” he said.

Once tranquilised, it took wildlife officials four days to transport the elephant from where it collapsed in the drizzly forest to the zoo in Takeo province.

Roth Bun Thoeun, a conservation official at the Forestry Administration, said the elephant, currently residing in a caged enclosure, could be used to attract more tourists to the park.

It will also be treated for an injury and mated with three other female elephants.

To contact the reporter on this story: Khouth Sophak Chakrya at sophakchakrya.khouth@phnompenhpost.com

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