AYUTTHAYA – Workers at an elephant shelter have cut back the tusks of an elephant that killed a Thai woman in the former capital of Ayutthaya, in the hope of wiping away bad luck from the animal.
Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal manager Ittiphan Khaolamai said about one-fifth of the one-meter-long ivory was taken off since it is believed the spirit of a person killed by an elephant would remain in the tusks.
Orn-uma Leksathan, a nurse at Wang Muang Hospital in Saraburi Province, and her husband Narongsak were visiting Ayutthaya province on a family trip when the tragedy occurred.
Orn-uma reportedly offered some food to the elephant at Lae Paniad Elephant Kraal. The elephant grasped her hand with its trunk, pulled her toward the pole to which it was chained, and then stomped on her with his foot.
When her husband Narongsak rushed to help her, the elephant gored him in the right thigh and threw him into the air.
Family members took Orn-uma and her husband to Ayutthaya Hospital, where the nurse was later pronounced dead from massive injuries to her internal organs.
Thongrian Meephan, the owner of Lae Paniad Elephant Kraal, said the elephant that attacked the couple is a 27-year-old male weighing about 3 tonnes, with 1.5m long tusks, known as Plai Big.
The attack occurred in a restricted area behind the kraal where elephants are held after working hours. It happened shortly before dusk when no handlers were with the animals, he said.
Mr Thongrian believed Plai Big became frightened when he was approached and offered food. It would have been his instinct to protect his tusks, tail and handler, he added.