A herd of six elephants fell to their deaths in Thailand on October 5 while struggling to save each other from a dangerous waterfall. The officials reported that the incident took place in Khao Yai National Park or "Hell's Fall" after a baby elephant slipped over the Haew Narok Waterfall. Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) said that the forest officials were called at the spot at 3 pm local time when a herd of elephants was encroaching a road by the waterfall. After three hours later, the body of a three-year-old elephant was spotted near the base of Haew Narok. The other five bodies were also discovered nearby.
The authorities spotted two other elephants struggling on the edge of a cliff and have been recovered. The waterfall is prone to similar incidents. In 1992 a herd of eight elephants died falling, in a case that was brought to the national spotlight. According to media reports, the waterfall has been temporarily closed following the incident. The Chief of the National Park, Khanchit Srinoppawan, said that the two remaining elephants were being monitored. Edwin Wiek, founder of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand said the pair may have difficulty surviving as elephants rely on their large herds for protection and finding food. The incident could likewise cause significant damage and elephants have been known to show indications of misery. Weik said it's like losing half of the family. To date around 7,000 Asian elephants stay in Thailand, with more than half living in captivity.
Khao Yai National Park covers more than 2,000 square kilometres of forest and grassland in central Thailand. More than 50 km of hiking and biking trails wind through the long-standing nature preserve, and its many waterfalls include 150m-tall Haew Narok and 20m-tall Haew Suwat, immortalized in the Danny Boyle film 'The Beach.' The park also shelters diverse wildlife such as bears, gibbons, elephants, and hornbills.
(With inputs from agencies)