A wild elephant killed two Thai men in separate pre-dawn attacks today as they worked at a rubber plantation in eastern Thailand, police said.
The two rubber tappers, both in their forties and working some three kilometers apart, were killed at the plantation in Kang Hang Maew district of Chanthaburi province.
“We believe that the same elephant killed both victims based on its path,” Lieutenant Sawai Chinwong from the local police station told AFP.
A third rubber tapper, a woman, suffered two broken legs after she was also attacked by an elephant at the same site as of one of the fatalities.
According to Sawai, the elephant trampled on the men, using its trunk to fling them to the ground as well as goring them with its tusks.
Thailand — where the pachyderm is a national symbol — has an estimated 2,500 wild elephants, outnumbered by its roughly 4,000 domesticated ones.
Earlier this month a video went viral on social media of a biker being charged by a herd of wild elephants in Khao Yai national park, around 200 kilometres from Bangkok.
The man, who escaped unharmed, is shown pressing his palms together in a prayer-like gesture towards the animals.
Elephant-related deaths are not unheard of in Thailand.
In August an elephant killed his “mahout” keeper in the country’s north before running off into the jungle with three terrified Chinese tourists still on his back. The tourists survived the incident.
And in June an elephant killed a Thai man and injured another as they were eating dinner at a beachside restaurant. The pair had been talking to the animal’s mahout when it suddenly flipped.
Story: AFP/ File photo: Christophe Archambault/ AFP