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Mahout and Elephant “Cherry” Fall Under Hard Times after Tourist Killed

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Mahout and Elephant "Cherry" Fall Under Hard Times after Tourist Killed

A Mahout in northeastern Thailand has fallen into hardship after his Elephant named “Cherry” killed a tourist at a jungle hotel. Mahout Peng Yimram said Cherry killed a man at a jungle hotel in the Khao Yai in Nakhon Ratchasima Province last month.

Mr Peng, and his 28-year-old elephant Cherry returned to their home in Satuk district, in northeastern Thailand’s Buri Ram province, after the management of the hotel where they worked said they were no longer welcome.

Both he and Cherry have been unemployed ever since.

Cherry killed a man in front of the Jungle House Khaoyai resort, near Thanarat Road, in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima, in mid-April.

The elephant is now chained up in the grounds of Wat Pa Ban Khok Moo-Ban Phai in Buri Ram. The area is shaded by trees and there is fresh grass she can browse. But they have no work.

Mr Peng said Cherry is very quiet and seems lonely since being parted from her friends at the Jungle House Khaoyai resort in Khao Yai. He said she is not dangerous, but he has put a sign anyway. The sign warns people to keep away from her.

Cherry the Elephant needs more food

Mr Peng  says without work he has no money, and she is short of food. He say Cherry needs about 100 kilograms of food a day, which would cost 400-500 baht, money he does not have.

He previously earned 10,000-20,000 baht a month from tourists, and this was enough for them both to survive, he told the Bangkok Post.

Now, she relies on gifts of bananas and sugarcane from villagers, and a little cash from the occasional tourist, but it’s not enough. He desperately hopes things will improve and he can get work again after the Covid-19 situation improves.

Asked about the tragedy in Pak Chong, Mr Peng said people must not approach any elephant unattended by its owner. An elephant was likely to attack strangers, he said – especially if it was in a bad mood.

On April 15 his elephant Cherry trampled a municipal worker, Rachan Theerapittayatrakul, 55, to death after he moved in too close and tried to give her food on the roadside outside the Jungle House Khaoyai resort.

The trampled man was on holiday with his wife and daughters.

Mr Peng said he had left the elephant there to graze on the grass outside the hotel.

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