Wildlife experts are tracking and plan to trap and tranquilise a rutting bull elephant that killed its mahout.
A team is travelling to Mondulkiri province today to catch the elephant, named Atork, which killed its owner and then escaped into the forest on Wednesday after the mahout unshackled the beast to allow tourists to take photographs.
Nhek Rattanak Pich, director of Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Centre, said yesterday that the provincial Forestry Administration had sought his intervention to catch the elephant, which continues to scare residents of Pu Taing village, in Sen Monorom’s Romnea commune. He explained that they would shoot the 60-year-old pachyderm with narcotics and then put him in shackles.
Saro Rattanak, acting provincial Forestry Administration director, said his experts worked with local authorities and the victim’s family to trace the male.
“The elephant is near the location where it killed its owner,” he said. Commune police chief Pich Sotheary said that Atork was currently with a female elephant named Me Krapum.
Sotheary said the late owner had been buried according to Phnong traditions.
The victim’s nephew, Saroeun Naro, 37, said his uncle had looked after Atork for about 20 years. He called the animal “very mild” and said he had never caused problems. “But after it was unshackled, it walked away and . . . started to change its behaviour. I do not know why it was angry with my uncle.”