Lifestyle & Belief

Elephant killing spree mystery deepens


Elephants stand in low-lying floodwater as they eat grass on the side of a street in the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya on October 12, 2011.


Pornchai Kittiwongsakul

Reports in early January of Thai elephants murdered and mutilated to supply underground restaurants were strange enough.

But a new piece in the Bangkok Post on the slain elephants suggests the case may involve a stateless tribe, government corruption and an ID card-for-poached tusks arrangement.

According to the Bangkok Post, officials believe five elephants have been killed though only two carcasses have been discovered. The Post's disturbing photo of elephant remains -- is that a dead elephant baby or decapitated elephant head? -- is here.

Who profited from the elephant deaths, however, is the subject of a dispute between officials, Thai villagers and members of a stateless and largely Christian Karen tribe native to neighboring Myanmar.

Among the allegations? The Karen tribesmen lacking enough bribery money to secure a Thai identification card "would hunt down an elephant in exchange for a card," the Post reports. The full details are here.