The Nation



On-site probe of gaur deaths begins

Wildlife-protection officials will today start investigating the suspicious deaths last year of 18 gaurs in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Kui Buri National Park, in an attempt to pin down whether the animals died of disease or from exposure to a toxic material.

Samak Donnapee, who heads up the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation's fact-finding committee investigating the deaths, said he would today visit the national park and nearby villages to seek out evidence and witnesses.

About 150 gaurs live in this area. Wildlife officials found 17 gaurs dead near a swamp on December 2 and an 18th this past Sunday.

The investigative team has sent samples of the carcasses to be studied to determine the causes of the deaths. The laboratory results should be known next week.

"It is too early to say that the gaurs were poisoned. We have to wait for the results of the lab tests," Samak said.

He added that hunting had already been ruled out as a cause, as the veterinarian who conducted the autopsy found no wounds on the carcasses.

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