A young wild elephant was found dead yesterday after it fell into a hole in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province.
An investigation showed it was killed after suffering many termite bites after falling into the hole.
The body of the animal has now been sent to Phnom Penh to be examined.
Keo Sopheak, director of the provincial environment department, said that the dead elephant was to be kept for research purposes and was being held at the Environment Ministry.
“The carcass is very important to allow scientists to study elephant biology,” he said.
According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, the one-year-old elephant was found dead after being trapped in a hole in Keo Seima district’s Sre Ktum commune.
The dead elephant was brought from the forest to the provincial environment department and placed into an ice chest for transport to Phnom Penh.
Mr Sopheak said local villagers reported the body to authorities. According to an investigation, the elephant fell by itself into the hole, which had termite nests in it.
“It died because of suffering from so many termite bites, not starvation,” he said.
Asian elephants are listed as globally endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.
The global population has been declining, and there are about 250 to 500 in Cambodia, with less than 115 in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary.
Tan Setha, a WCS technical advisor, said his organisation could not save the elephant.
“We really regret that we could not save this young elephant, but the location was deep inside the forest and we did not receive information in time,” he said.