The animal – who ran off with terrified tourists still on its back – was on a walking tour in the Chiang Mai jungle in northern Thailand when it gored its new keeper to death.
Another police officer involved in responding to the incident, Colonel Thawatchai Thepboon, was quoted by The Daily Mail as saying that the handler killed by Plai Somjai “was not familiar with the elephant”.
The Karen are an ethnic minority who reside in the hill country of northern Thailand.
This cuts the revenue for commercial elephant camps prompting criticism that an outright ban is not the right step to take if communities are to be drawn into tourism to improve their living standard.
An elephant killed its mahout (handler) in Thailand Wednesday before running away with three Chinese tourists on its back.
In another incident in June in Thailand, and elephant standing next to its keeper suddenly attacked two people eating dinner at an outdoor restaurant, killing one and injuring the other. Today, there are an estimated 4,000 elephants in Thailand, over half of which are domesticated. The pair had been talking to the animal’s mahout when it suddenly flipped. The controversial practice is opposed by many animals right groups who argue that the elephants or overworked and under-cared for.
According to Edwin Wiek of the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand, the demand for elephants has skyrocketed due to rising numbers of tourists wanting elephant tours.
He added that that is not only risky for the elephants, but also the humans that interact with them, saying: “If you had to do the same, you would get stressed. At some point they become insane and we can’t control them”.