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.

MOST VIEWED

  • First deportees of the year touch down in Cambodia

    Twenty-five Cambodian-Americans landed in Phnom Penh on Wednesday, marking the first such deportations of the year. “On Wednesday, US law enforcement authorities deported 25 Cambodian nationals that immigration judges determined had no legal basis to remain in the US,” said Arend Zwartjes, spokesperson for the US

  • Qatar Airways to connect Doha and Siem Reap town

    Qatar Airways Company QCSC has announced a new route connecting Qatar’s capital Doha with Siem Reap, a move hailed by local officials as a significant step to boost tourist numbers. A Qatar Airways representative, speaking at the Kuwait Aviation Show, announced on Thursday that

  • Sokha defence denies Tech’s claims

    ON DAY two of Kem Sokha’s treason trial, lawyers for the government said the defence had raised questions in an attempt to allow their client to make a public statement and a conclusion to the case, something his legal team denied. Ky Tech, a

  • Call for boycott of Angkor unacceptable

    Dear Editor, I wish to express my strong disagreement on the article published by Traveller for their website with the title Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid. Below is my opinion of the article. It is obviously free for the Traveller to

  • Probe underway after wreckage of drone with Chinese characters found

    Air Force Command spokesman Prak Sokha said on Sunday that investigations are underway regarding the wreckage of a drone that was recovered in Koh Kong province’s Koh Sdech commune in Kiri Sakor district. The wreckage has been taken to the capital for further examination,

  • Good governance needed for sustainable growth

    Cambodia is one of the most successful countries in achieving high and rapid economic growth in Asia and the world. The average 7 per cent of annual GDP growth in the past two decades has lifted millions of people out of poverty. In 2015, Cambodia graduated from