Subscribe Search

Search form

Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Elephant kills girl, 11, near eco-tourism area

Elephant kills girl, 11, near eco-tourism area

Elephant kills girl, 11, near eco-tourism area

Officials are calling an animal attack “unusual” after a wild elephant trampled an 11-year-old girl to death on Sunday near the Chi Phat eco-tourism zone in Koh Kong province.

At about 11am, the young girl, named Cheam Sokkhim, was fishing with her mother at a protected area when the male elephant emerged and went on a rampage, Koh Kong’s Thmor Bang district police chief Saum Samei told the Post yesterday.

They ran, but the elephant started chasing after them, and then the daughter fell down.

The elephant then kicked and crushed her with its foot, according to Samei.

“This is the first time this has happened,” Samei said. “Before, elephants used to be afraid of people, but now they chase people.”

John Willis, director of programs for the preservation group Wildlife Alliance, which oversees Chi Phat, said elephant attacks are unheard of around the eco-tourism zone.

“There have been some elephant attacks in other provinces … but we haven’t heard of any elephant attacks in Chi Phat,” Willis said.

However, he added that a male elephant in the area was reported to be acting aggressively around the same time last year.

According to Samei, the elephants have grown bolder ever since Chi Phat became a popular tourist destination.

In 2013, Willis said that Wildlife Alliance recorded 2,000 international tourist visits in the area.

“There are banana and sugar plantations around there that tend to attract elephants, and that might be a factor … but as far as elephants being acclimated to humans, I don’t know if it is,” Willis said.

A Wildlife Alliance worker, who has not been authorised to speak to the press, confirmed that the wild elephant has since disappeared into the forest and that the NGO is looking at policies on how to deal with the incident.

“This is a tourist site, so we couldn’t do anything to the animal,” Samei said. “We only hope that people would be more careful about this.”

The family of the victim could not be reached.


  • Kak Channthy, Cambodian Space Project frontwoman, killed in crash at 38 [Updated]

    Updated 5:05pm, Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Kak Channthy, frontwoman of popular The Cambodian Space Project, was killed Tuesday morning in a traffic accident in Phnom Penh. She was 38. Channthy, the internationally recognised singer-songwriter also known as “Srey Thy”, was reportedly travelling in a tuk-tuk on the city's

  • Australian police investigating death threat against Kem Ley's widow

    Updated: 10:17am, Friday March 23, 2018 Australian authorities on Thursday confirmed they have launched an investigation into a crudely written death threat sent tothe family of slain political analyst Kem Ley and Victoria state MP Hong Lim. The typed letter, reported to Victoria police last week, is

  • Apparel groups including H&M and Gap urge Cambodia garment industry reform, seek meeting with Hun Sen

    A group representing some of the largest apparel brands in the US and Europe – including Gap, H&M and ASOS – expressed “growing concern” on Tuesday over several controversial labour laws and ongoing court cases against unionists described as restrictive and unjust. In an open letter

  • Hun Sen says Montagnards don’t exist in Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen once again attacked ex-opposition leader Sam Rainsy for pledging “autonomy” to Montagnards, claiming – seemingly incorrectly – the ethnic minority does not exist in Cambodia. “We respect all minorities such as Jarai, Steang, Phnong, but we have never had Montagnards,” the premier said