PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN: A villager has been arrested for shooting to death a wild elephant in the Kui Buri National Park in Kui Buri district of this lower central province.
Rakpong Boonyoi, chief of the Kui Buri National Park, said the incident occurred on Saturday while park rangers were driving the wild elephant out of a rubber plantation back into the forest.
Hearing a gunshot, the rangers rushed to the plantation and found the elephant lying dead in a ditch. Narong Arapakdi, 49, a villager of Moo 7 in tambon Hat Kham, was nearby, holding a shotgun.
Mr Narong admitted to shooting the pachyderm. He said he acted in self-defence after encountering the wild elephant at close range.
The elephant was 15-20 years of age and weighed between 1.5-2 tonnes. It was buried afterwards.
Mr Narong was detained by Kui Buri police for questioning. He was initially charged with having a firearm in possession without a licence and shooting to death a protected animal.
Mr Rakpong said during the past month four wild elephants in the national park, including this one, died from electrocution and gunshots despite the efforts of park officials, with help from local leaders, police and military personnel, to prevent clashes between the wild animals and local people.
He estimated there are now about 300 wild elephants and 400 gaurs in the Kui Buri National Park.