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Mondulkiri provincial authorities have shot and killed an elephant two days after it trampled its owner to death.
Provincial governor Svay Sam Eang ordered police to kill the animal when it walked out of the forest and terrified villagers as it destroyed homes.
Keo Sopheak, the director of the provincial environment department, said they had no choice but to shoot the elephant for the sake of villagers’ safety.
Experts had asked for sedative drugs from Tamao mountain zoo in Takeo province on Wednesday, shortly after the elephant killed its owner, but they did not receive the drugs until late on Friday, by which time the elephant was dead.
The bull elephant named A Tork was more than 70 years old and had worked in the tourist industry for many years.
Its owner, Cheung Tiem, 45, took him when he was young from the forest where he had been living wild.
The elephant threw Mr. Tiem off his back and stomped on him in a fit of anger during the mating season.
One villager said the elephant looked to have calmed down for a short period after the killing. A day later it turned nasty and came into the village and tried to stomp on villagers.
The elephant destroyed seven houses and a fire engine that police parked in an attempt to control it.
“Police shot in the air many times to scare the elephant away but it became angrier,” the villager said.
“The authorities found it hard to calm it down and at nearly 1am on Friday, police shot the elephant with the agreement of villagers and the owner’s family.”
Mr. Sam Eang said he regretted losing an elephant that was a tourist attraction, but he ordered it to be shot to protect the villagers.
“We did not plan to kill the elephant, but it tried to destroy a house where there was a sick person asleep that we could not move out on time,” he said.
The body of the elephant was buried next to his owner’s grave on Saturday morning.
In March, a wild elephant died in Preah Sihanouk province’s Kampong Seila district after rubbing against an electricity tower which collapsed. The elephant was electrocuted when it tramped on the collapsed power lines.
Last year, a rampaging elephant stamped on and killed his owner in Mondulkiri province’s Pech Chreada district but was not shot.
According to Fauna and Flora International, there are now between 400 and 600 wild elephants in Cambodia, with the main concentration in the southwestern Cardamom Mountains and the eastern plains of Mondulkiri province.