A wild elephant that strayed into Cambodia from Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province was found yesterday morning.
Yim Ly, provincial environment department chief, said the six-tonne female elephant had strayed into a forest in Banteay Meanchey province’s Malai district after crossing the border in Battamang province’s Sampov Loun district on Wednesday night.
“The elephant is now staying in the surroundings of Yeay Sam Mountain, about three kilometres from the border,” Mr Ly said.
He added his department dispatched officers to work in collaboration with local police to track down the elephant after learning of the animal’s presence.
“We sent our officers to work with police to follow the elephant, keeping a distance of about 150 metres away from it,” he said.
Mr Ly added Thai officers asked to join the operation in cooperation with the Cambodian side to observe the animal.
“They are working with us to drive the elephant back to Thailand,” he said.
“It is now under close observation by the environment department because we are worried that it might come to disturb villagers,” Mr Ly said, adding that local authorities warned people living near the mountain to be mindful of their safety.
The elephant also damaged a few sugarcane and cassava fields, where local farmers were harvesting their crops. However, no harm to local villagers had been reported, according to commune police chief Captain Sous Borith.
“We learned of some damage to local farms, but no one was attacked by the elephant,” said Cap Borith.
According to Thai authorities, the elephant broke loose from an electric fence enclosure for behaviour-adjustment in a forest conservation project area in Sa Kaeo province. The wild animal previously attacked Thai residents and destroyed farms.