Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wild elephants trample Thai monk to death

Monsters and Critics
February 22, 2008

Bangkok - A herd of wild elephants trampled a Thai Buddhist monk to death and severely injured another who had entered the forest to meditate, media reports said Friday.

Nattaporn Kittiyano, 38, and Wichian Khemmako, 43, had strolled into the forest Wednesday evening at the Thap Lan National Park in Nakorn Ratchasima province, 200 kilometres north-east of Bangkok, to meditate when they chanced upon a herd of 11 wild pachyderms, including four babies, the Thai Rath newspaper reported.

The elephants surrounded the two monks, who attempted to hide in the bushes, and trampled Nattaporn to death and injuring Wichian, who managed to flee and alert fellow monks at the nearby Bolong temple.

When four other monks came to check on Nattaporn, the elephants chased them up a tree where they were forced to remain for almost two hours.

Thap Lan National Park director Yuthanna Sringernngam said this was the wrong season to stumble into elephants.

'This is elephant mating season, so they are very dangerous, and if you meet a herd of pachyderms now, you should just run away,' Yuthanna told the Thai Rath, a mass circulation daily.

He noted that under Thai law, wild elephants were a protected species, so no revenge would be sought for Nattaporn's death.

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