An elephant tore its handler in half at a rubber plantation in Thailand – and police say the heat made it “go crazy”.
Officers think the elephant was angry at its owner for making it transport rubberwood in the hot weather at a plantation in southern Thailand’s Phang Nga province.
The handler – known as a mahout – was killed by a 20-year-old male elephant named Pom Pam. Supachai Wongfaed, 32, was stabbed repeatedly by the animal’s tusks and then ripped in half, officers said.
Livestock officers were called to the scene and shot the elephant with a sedative dart from 500 metres away so that rescue workers could retrieve Supachai’s body, reports Thaiger.
Officers said the hot weather may have made the elephant “go crazy” and subsequently attack and kill Mr Wongfaed, the son of the former mayor of the Khok Charoen subdistrict.
Last month, an elephant stabbed its mahout to death with its tusks in Nakhon Sri Thammarat province and stood to watch over his corpse for hours.
Locals told police they suspected that the elephant was stressed from work.
Elephants are known for their gentle nature, but they can become aggressive when they feel harassed, vulnerable or threatened.
Niki Rust, an environmental social scientist specializing in human and wildlife conflict, told Newsweek disputed the police’s claim, saying that elephants do not become more aggressive when they are hot.
However, the changing climate can cause pressures, like diminished food and water supply, which can lead to increased conflict among elephants in the wild.