Mother tusker shot, calf missing
An autopsy on a elephant found shot dead in Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi revealed a rifle bullet in her skull and that she recently gave birth, leading authorities to think she was killed so poachers could abduct her calf.
National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation department chief Manopat Huamuangkaew visited the park yesterday and was briefed by park chief Chaiwat Limlikhitaksorn. Manopat also visited the scene where the elephant was found.
The autopsy found one rifle bullet and that the elephant had given birth in the past six months. An examination of her teeth determined she was 13 to 15 years old.
Wildlife authorities were collecting more evidence. The elephant's remains will be burned and sifted in a bid to find bullet fragments.
Chaiwat said he thought the baby elephant may still be in the Kaeng Krachan area and that he ordered forest officials to set up more checkpoints in a bid to catch anyone transporting the stolen calf.
He also asked the Army's "phraya seu" special task force to block routes to Myanmar.
Provincial Police Region 7 chief Hanpol Nitwibuk called for a meeting of investigators into the case. He said they were checking if officials were involved in the crime.
If so, they would face severe punishment. Police would look into all suspects with links to the illegal wildlife trade.
Assistant national police chief Jaramporn Suramanee and a team of specialists flew by helicopter to the park on Sunday to investigate.
Elephants were shot dead in the park last year, leading to suspicion park officials may be involved.