An elephant that was killed near Huay Sai Yai waterfall at the Buntharik-Yod Mon wildlife sanctuary in Ubon Ratchathani was shot by a high-power gun, say officials. An AK-47 bullet hit the elephant in the mouth and such was its ferocity that it tore right through the animal’s torso to its left rear leg, where it exited.
Another AK-47 bullet was found lodged in its rib. The trajectory of the bullet also indicated the shooter had been at the same ground level.
The results of the initial examination were reported by Protected Area Regional Office 9 director Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksornn following the discovery of the elephant carcass by forensic police, sanctuary officials and veterinarians. They also conducted a swab test at the elephant’s tongue and tusk to look for gunpowder residue to confirm the theory, he said.
Forensic officials have received photos taken from a nearby previously-installed “camera trap” – they showed a man carrying an AK-47 rifle and a GPS device, and wearing clothes that resembled a neighbouring country’s military uniform. The photos were taken one kilometre away from the waterfall and it is suspected that he was involved in the elephant’s death.
The male elephant, aged 25-35 years and weighing around 4 tonnes, was found dead on November 14 by wildlife sanctuary officials. It was immediately suspected that it had been killed by a group of armed people who crossed the border from a neighbouring country to poach elephants and cut down Siamese Rosewood trees in the Thai wildlife sanctuary.