Bak Maï, a 32-year-old male domesticated elephant in Ratanakiri province, died on Thursday due to severe diarrhoea, said Airavata Elephant Foundation, the guardians of the elephant sanctuary, in a statement on Friday.
An autopsy will be conducted by Airavata Elephant Foundation and local authorities to determine the cause of death since it happened very suddenly.
“On Thursday morning, Bak Maï had unusual diarrhoea. He collapsed and could not get up,” the statement said.
The association officials requested the veterinary clinic AgroVet to provide medical care for Bak Maï. Despite treatment, Bak Maï didn’t recover and died on Thursday night.
“In the meantime, the association is working with local authorities and relevant experts to determine the cause behind the elephant’s sudden death,” said the statement, adding Bak Maï will be greatly missed by everyone at the sanctuary. His loss was likened to losing a natural treasure.
Bak Maï was the latest elephant rescued and rehabilitated at Airavata Elephant Foundation. He was known as Mondulkiri’s “killer elephant”. The other sanctuaries didn’t want him and he was condemned to “death by starving” for having killed his mahout. However, since his arrival at the Airavata sanctuary, Bak Maï integrated very well with his fellow creatures and his mahouts.
In Ratanakiri province, there are only four domesticated elephants living under the care of Airavata Elephant Foundation, with support given by the Ministry of Environment and other national institutions.
Among the four elephants, Bak Maï was the youngest male. Of the remaining three elephants, two are male and one is female.