A 36-year-old elephant felt weary, fell down a hill in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, and died last week, the provincial elephant conservation center said on Tuesday.
Huynh Trung Luan, director of the center, confirmed that the elephant, which was named Book Kham, became exhausted and dropped dead in the forest subzone 1341 in Lak District on January 15.
It was a tamed animal, Luan added.
The director said that his center has set up an inspection team to look further into the death.
The animal was owned by D. V. L., a local residing in Lien Son Town of the district, Luan said. “Book Kham was found lying dead on its side on the hill’s slope, with one of his front legs was chained. One of the two tusks was thrust into the ground while the other broke, with the broken part seen one meter away from the animal’s head,” the director said.
Many fallen plants were seen in the area around the dead elephant, on the body of which there was no wound caused by eternal force, Luan said, citing a scene examination report.
One tentative conclusion was that the elephant might have fallen from the top of the hill and then knocked down the trees on its way down, Luan said.
The owner of Book Kham said that on the afternoon of January 15, some mahouts took the elephant to a forest for it to search for food. He added that the animal showed no abnormal signs, but not long after the elephant left, he was informed of its death.
Currently, the number of tamed elephants in Dak Lak is declining sharply due to the increasing death toll.
Local elephants have lost their lives to old age and, particularly, exhaustion after being forced to overwork for tourism purposes, authorities said, adding that the total number of tamed elephants across the province has gone down to only 50.
These elephants have failed to give birth due to overwork and the absence of a natural environment for mating as a result of shrinking forest areas, they said.
The provincial People’s Committee has adopted a regulation to offer financial support to elephant breeders when their animals are capable of reproducing.