An elephant died after stepping into a hole dug for a toilet near a pagoda in Kratie province’s Snuol district on Wednesday.
The animal was unable to climb up by itself.
The owner and villagers pulled it out with a crane but were unable to save the creature.
District chief Chan Sokim said the owner and the elephant arrived from Mondulkiri province two days earlier to sell traditional medicine. They rested near the pagoda.
“The elephant owner was sleeping under the tree and his elephant was next to him,” Mr Sokim said.
“The elephant walked to drink water in the hole near the pagoda’s fence and then it stuck its foot in the hole. It could not climb up because it was seriously injured,” he said.
Mr Sokim said the elephant had lived with its owner since it was young, though he did not know its age.The district helped arrange for the owner to return to his hometown in Mondulkiri province.