Ayutthaya elephant poisoned for ivory

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AYUTTHAYA, July 11 — A male elephant was found dead inside the compound of the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace & Royal Kraal in this central province today, and the authorities believe the elephant was poisoned for its ivory.

Police officers from Ayutthaya Police Station inspected the scene at Suan Prik subdistrict, Phra Nakhon Sri Ayutthaya district, finding a male elephant named Klao, age 50, dead near a small woods, next to the elephant kraal. Both of its tusks were cut off and taken away.

The tusks were about 5-6 inches in diameter. Police believe the elephant was dead for at least 9-10 hours before being discovered.

The authorities surmised that the suspects must have drugged the elephant during the night and waited until it fell before cutting away its tusks.

Ayutthaya Elephant Palace & Royal Kraal owner Laithongrian Meephan said the deceased elephant came to live at the camp in 1999, but was kept for only special occasions as he resembles a mighty elephant, Phraya Kotchasarn, the Great Elephant.

The owner said each tusk have been at least 1 metre in length.

He pleaded for the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to help with the case, as the council has asked for cooperation in restraining from possessing weapons, making it difficult to keep the culprits at bay.

At present, the police are inspecting whether the elephant was poisoned, and will track the suspects to ensure success in making an arrest. (MCOT online news)