21 September – 2017 – Sen Monorom
Tragically the owner of a male elephant in one of the surrounding villages was killed by his male elephant.
ELIE was called by the authorities and coordinated with the authorities, the family, community and vet teams the recapture of the male elephant Bak Mai.
Working with these majestic beasts is a very dangerous job. Sometime its forgotten that they are really a wild animal. When something like this happens tensions become high and the animal is blamed. This is resulted in many people calling for the elephant to be shot rather than captured, contained and helped.
Khun diyon, the director of ELIE played a big part in persuading everyone to leave the elephant alive and give us the opportunity to catch him.
Our team headed out and quickly spotted two females, (Gee ben and Mae Koon) 10km from home and loose in this sugarcane field.
Wildlife Alliance vets were forced to dart the one of the females as the local military were threatening to fire on her. After being darted she headed, luckily, away from the village and into the forest. The first female was secured and we got a phone call the bull had been spotted back down the road we had come along.
As we approached in our vehicle the second female, who he was with quickly broke away to the south and we backed up to try and get a close shot. Soon Bak Mai began to chase. Chenda the vet managed to dart him in the leg after he tripped badly on his chain. He soon got up and also bolted south.
After that two trucks filled with armed local police arrived. Their commander was very helpful and we got him to block the road completely east and west to keep back the crowds so we could track them down. This brought us some much needed time.
After a short time to allow the drugs to take affect Jack and Chenda headed through the forest where they managed to dart first the errant female and the male again.
The answer to why he had attacked his mahout soon became apparent.
We found a 4 inch long nail in the center of his trunk. It obviously was between his fields of vision and must have pained him and angered him greatly. His mahout would have of course tried to remove it when he saw it and considering we had to forcefully remove it with a pair of pliers meant that it was probably the reason this bull killed his mahout. Initially we thought he was in the musth but it turned out not to be true.
After containing Bak Mai, the family considered many options; try and keep him, sell him, give him to the zoo or let him die. Unfortunately we did not have the resources to care for him but continued assistance to support and assist with the bulls owners.
Bak Mai was eventually purchased by the Ariavta Foundation in Ratanakiri Province where he now lives permanently.