PHETCHABURI – Officials have made known that the female elephant found dead in Kaeng Krachan National Park on Wednesday was pregnant at the time of its death.
The elephant, whose carcass was found in Kaeng Krachan National Park in Phetchaburi province, appeared to have been dead for at least three weeks. There were bullet holes in the elephant’s head, which was cut off from its body and completely skinned.
Previously, authorities believed the dead elephant was male and that ivory traders were responsible for its death. However, after the latest inspection, forensic teams found a near full-grown fetus inside the carcass, which means the elephant was actually female, prompting the officials to rule out ivory trade as the motive for the killing.
On March 8, a female elephant believed to be between seven and 10 years old was found dead near a creek in the same national park.
The elephant had several wounds, including four bullet holes in its hide. Two men were arrested as suspects in the poaching of the elephant.
Police later seized around 90 firearms from local people to for tests to determine whether they were used to kill the elephant or not. No results have been announced.
Officials believe the same group of poachers killed both elephants.
The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation has confirmed that more patrol units will be deployed inside Kaeng Krachan National Park to prevent the repeat of elephant poaching.
Park rangers and soldiers inspected the carcass of the male elephant that was at least 20 years old and had a height of no less than 2.40 meters. The elephant’s head had been severed from its body, prompting officials to point to ivory trade as the motive for the killing. Several holes were found on the skull, but these have yet to be confirmed as bullet holes.
Chaiwat Limlikhit-akson, head of Kaeng Krachan National Park said that whether the cause of death was by shooting remained to be confirmed.