NAKHON RATCHASIMA – National Park Officials and police have reported that a local village leader was stomped to death by a herd of wild elephants after he and another villager lit firecrackers to scare them away.
The hungry jumbos were roaming sugarcane plantations near Khao Yai national park in Pak Chong district. Instead of running away at the sound of the firecrackers, the animals charged the two men.
Boonruang Anuraksa, 61, chairman of the Pong Talong tambon administration organisation (TAO), was badly hurt in the attack late Tuesday night. He died shortly after being taken to Pak Chong Nana Hospital, said Pol Lt Col Khemmachart Paedkaew, told the Bangkok Post.
Yiam Maomeesri, 44, a local resident, told police that Boonruang had asked him on Tuesday night to help guard sugarcane plantations near the national park as wild elephants often came out from the forest to eat crops.
Late that night, he said, the sound of elephants was heard, and the men went out to investigate. They saw a herd of four elephants, aged around 12-15 years old, eating sugarcane.
The two men lit firecrackers in a bid to scare them away – but instead of fleeing, the jumbos charged. He and the TAO leader ran for safety, but the elephants managed to reach Mr Boonruang and stomped him, Thai media reported.
Pol Lt Col Khemmachart and national park officials inspected the scene on Wednesday. They believed the elephants might have been frightened by the sound of the firecrackers, causing them to attack the two men.