Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Elephant in Mondulkiri dies from apparent malnutrition after being shackled

Elephant in Mondulkiri dies from apparent malnutrition after being shackled

After being shackled for more than 20 days, an elephant in Mondulkiri collapsed from malnutrition on Saturday and died several hours later. Facebook
After being shackled for more than 20 days, an elephant in Mondulkiri collapsed from malnutrition on Saturday and died several hours later. Facebook

Elephant in Mondulkiri dies from apparent malnutrition after being shackled

An elephant in Mondulkiri died from apparent malnutrition on Saturday after being shackled for over 20 days because it was in musth, a naturally occurring periodic hormone surge.

The male elephant, named Boek Ku, 35, died Saturday afternoon in Romanea commune's Putang village near Sen Monorom. It had passed out as a result of a lack of food, according to commune Police Chief Pich Sotheary.

Sotheary said the elephant was in musth – a condition in which testosterone levels spike and elephants can become aggressive – and ran away from his owner Choch Cehl on March 26, destroying crops.
Forestry administration (FA) officials worked with Wildlife Alliance to sedate the elephant the next day to shackle it.

“It was shackled until the 21st without enough food and water, and it fell ill and died,” he said. “Some food was provided as well, but they did not take care of it.”

He said a death last year of a mahout trampled by an elephant had made the owner fearful. In that case, the elephant was subsequently shot dead by authorities. “He was scared of the elephant,” he said.

Sotheary added that after the death, the owner and relatives gathered and performed a traditional elephant burial in the forest.

Villager Rom Thet said the owner had been feeding the elephant with banana trees, but that it had not eaten much. He added that the elephant had also been used as a tourist attraction, including giving rides to visitors.

Try Sitheng, head of the animal care section at Phnom Tamao Zoo’s Wildlife Rescue Centre, said that Forestry Administration officials, in cooperation with Wildlife Alliance, had anaesthetised the elephant in order to shackle it to a tree.

He said that an elephant needs over 100 litres of drinking water per day, in addition to water for bathing and playing.

“The death is 100 percent due to a lack of care. Lack of water and food in the dry season would cause its death,” he said.

“If there had been a problem caused by the anaesthesia, it should have happened on that day or a day after it only.”

Ngin Sovimean, head of the Mondulkiri provincial Tourism Department, said that about 10 elephants in Putang village give rides to tourists, though currently owners prefer to let tourists watch, bathe and feed the elephants instead.

MOST VIEWED

  • Omicron patients can stay home: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has given the green light for anyone who contracts the SARS-CoV-2 Omicron mutation or any other variant to convalesce or receive treatment at home or in any other reasonable non-healthcare setting. The new decision supersedes a restriction on home care for

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • Cambodia’s first ever anime festival kicks off Jan 22 at capital’s F3 centre

    Phnom Penh's first ever Anime Festival will bring together fans, artists, shops and other local businesses with ties to the Japanese animation style for cosplay competitions, online games, pop-up shops and more on January 22, with Friends Futures Factory (F3) hosting. F3 is a project that

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Demining rat ‘hero’ Magawa dead at 8

    A landmine-hunting rat that was awarded a gold medal for heroism for clearing ordnance from the Cambodian countryside has died, his charity said on January 11. Magawa, a giant African pouched rat originally from Tanzania, helped clear mines from about 225,000sqm of land – the equivalent of 42

  • Hun Sen gets 4th Covid shot, urges compatriots to follow

    Prime Minister Hun Sen and his wife Bun Rany on January 14 received their fourth dose of Covid-19 vaccine and called on compatriots to follow suit as the Omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in the community. This marks the launch of Cambodia's fourth-dose vaccination campaign,