The Ministry of Environment expressed regret at the death of a female wild elephant in Mondulkiri province. It suspected that the elephant cow had slipped down a mountain ledge on March 24.

In a March 25 report, the Mondulkiri provincial Department of Environment said the elephant was found dead near Pou Hyam village, Sen Monorom commune, O’Raing district.

The report said that after people reported the corpse, district police officers, environment department officials and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) specialists examined the scene.

They determined that the cow had slipped down a steep bank and landed near a stream.

“A veterinary team examined the corpse and measured her at 4.2m in height. She was now pregnant, as was falsely reported earlier,” said the report.

Environment ministry spokesman Neth Pheaktra said on March 26 that the ministry was saddened by the news, but had concluded that the elephant died of natural causes.

He explained that the Kingdom has put a 10 year plan in place for the conservation of the Kingdom’s wild elephant population. The plan includes habitat conservation, the resolution of conflict between humans and the animals and a successful snare removal campaign.

“The initial examination of the body of the elephant showed no injuries from traps, snares or firearms. We have taken samples and will determine the exact cause of death,” he added.

Pheaktra said that an estimated 400 and 600 elephants live in the Kingdom’s natural resource conservation areas like the Keo Seima wildlife sanctuary.

“The northeast is rich in elephants, especially in Prey Lang, in Ratanakkiri and Mondulkiri provinces,” he concluded.