Thieves poisoned and killed a 62-year-old domestic elephant in Ratanakkiri province’s Banlung district and then sawed off its tusks, officials said.
Tim Luong, 64, a member of the Tampoun ethnic minority, said Tuesday that his elephant, Khamm Kang, was fed poisoned jack fruits by four or five men judging from the footprints around the dead elephant’s body.
Khamm Kang was chained about 100 meters from the owner’s house in Yeak Lom commune’s Chrey village when he was killed Friday evening, according to Hor Ang, Ratanakkiri provincial police deputy chief.
Khamm Kang had been in the family since the 1960s when Tim Loung’s father purchased him, he said.
Tim Luong said he was recently offered $25,000 for Khamm Kang but, he said, he would not “sell him because he is like my family member.”
Pen Bonnar, Adhoc’s provincial coordinator in Ratanakkiri, said Monday that the killing was part of a trend that began three years ago with wild animal killings in the districts of O’Chum and Voeun Sai.
“We are worried. Poisoning is spreading to domestic animals,” he said.
“There has been no crackdown,” so people are not discouraged from committing the crime, he said.
Since December, many villagers have also fallen ill with nausea and diarrhea in O’Chum district, an NGO official said Monday.
O’Chum district governor Phou Kim Moeur and Hang Vannarean, forestry administration chief for O’Chum district, both said they were unaware of animals being intentionally poisoned in the province.