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Monk Becomes Latest Victim of Deadly Elephant Attacks in Chonburi

A 52-year-old monk was trampled and gored to death by a wild elephant near his monastery in Chonburi in October 2020.
A 52-year-old monk was trampled and gored to death by a wild elephant near his monastery in Chonburi in October 2020. (Photo: Pattaya Mail, with permission)

Wild elephants have killed two people in the past week in Chonburi, most recently a monk collecting alms.

The gored and trampled body of Suthem Runganan, 52, was found about a kilometer from Boonyawad Temple in Bo Thong District following an encounter with a herd of jumbos.

Nearby residents Ploen Boondeekan, 49, said more than 30 wild elephants recently had wandered down from the hills to forage for food, raiding farms and damaging property.

Tua, a Cambodian laborer working nearby, said she saw the monks walking along the same path as the pachyderms were traveling and shouted to warn him. He didn’t hear her.

Bo Thong District Chief Kittipong Kitikun said Suthem’s Friday death was the second in three days from elephant attacks.

Wildlife officers managed to chase the jumbos back into he hills, but warned residents to stay on guard and stay far away from the giant mammals.

Authorities in nearby Rayong this month farmers and other locals that male elephants currently are in “mustf”, or heat, with higher reproductive hormones and aggressiveness.

They’ve been busy there monitoring elephants munching on crops in Khlong Nam Dang in District.

They made loud noises to scare the jumbos away from the cocktail trees, cassava, tufted fishtail palm and sugar cane, hoping they’ll return to the forest.

They then followed the animals to see if they were agitated.

This story compbies reports from the Pattaya Mail, a Bangkok Herald partner.