Elephant rips handler in half after heavy workload in extreme heat ‘drives it crazy’

An elephant in Thailand ripped its handler in half after high temperatures likely made it "go crazy", said police.

Investigators believe the animal had grown frustrated at having to transport rubberwood at a plantation in Phang Nga province during the scorching temperatures.

The 20-year-old elephant, called Pom Pam, stabbed handler Supachai Wongfaed, 32, with his tusks and then pulled him apart, according to reports.

Police, the village chief, and rescue workers found him ripped in two in a pool of blood.

His body was retrieved after livestock officers shot the elephant with a sedative dart. Rescuers recover the body of Supachai Wongfaed

 ( Image: thethaiger.com)

Rescuers recover the body of Supachai Wongfaed

His body was given to his family for religious ceremonies to be carried out, reports Thaiger.

Elephants are usually gentle natured, but can become aggressive when they feel harassed, vulnerable or threatened.

Despite the police claims, Niki Rust, an environmental social scientist specialising in human and wildlife conflict, said elephants don't become more aggressive in hot weather.

Indian Elephant

The elephant was sedated after the attack ( Image: UIG via Getty Images)

However, speaking to Newsweek, she said the changing climate can cause pressures such as reduced food and water supply which may lead to conflict, particularly among herds.

"What does happen is that wildlife becomes more desperate for food and water as climate change affects the things that they depend upon to survive," Rust said.

She added that elephants have been known to destroy bore holes and wells in search of water, "even before climate change was an issue".

In India, about 500 people are killed by elephants each year, often in crop-raiding incidents.

Meanwhile, Lydia Tiller, research and science manager at Save the Elephants human-elephants co-existence program in Kenya, told the publication there's been a huge increase in human and elephant conflicts across Africa.

"Unfortunately, we do not know the full picture of the long-term impacts of climate change on elephants...The number of elephants being killed due to conflict has increased," she added.

Earlier this summer, a 70-year-old woman was trampled to death by an elephant who then returned for her funeral.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/elephant-rips-handler-half-after-27817911

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