Six elephants died in Thailand while trying to save themselves from a waterfall. According to local authorities, the incident occurred after a baby elephant fell from a waterfall in central Khao Yai National Park.
Two other elephants were also seen near a nearby cliff and were rescued by the authorities. According the BBC, the waterfall, known as Haew Narok ("fall from hell"), has a history of similar incidents.
A herd of eight elephants died after falling from that waterfall in 1992, in a nationwide media case.
Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) said authorities were summoned to the site on Saturday at 3 pm local time when a group of elephants was blocking a road near the waterfall.
Three hours later, the body of a three-year-old elephant was seen near Haew Narok base and five other animals were found nearby. Khanchit Srinoppawan, head of the national park, told the BBC that the two surviving elephants were being assisted.
Edwin Wiek, founder of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, said elephants may have a hard time surviving as they rely on large herds to protect and search for food. The incident can also have emotional consequences as these animals show signs of mourning. "It's like losing half of the family. There's nothing you can do, unfortunately it's nature," Wiek told the BBC.
About 7,000 Asian elephants remain in Thailand, with more than half living in captivity.
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