Five more elephants found dead at Thai waterfall days after 5 others fell to their deaths trying to save a baby elephant that drowned
The dead bodies were captured by a drone being used to probe the deaths of the previous group of elephants at the 656ft Hell's Fall in Khao Yai National Park.
After news broke over the weekend that six elephants were found dead below a waterfall in Thailand, five more carcasses have been discovered downstream.
The dead bodies were captured by a drone being used to probe the deaths of the previous group of elephants at the 656ft Hell's Fall in Khao Yai National Park, BBC News reports. The giant mammals allegedly jumped to their deaths while attempting to rescue a baby elephant who had fallen at the same spot.
That said, Hell's Fall has a notorious reputation ever since a herd of elephants plunged to their deaths in 1992.
As the terrain is too tough for hiking, wildlife officials deployed small drones into the area to investigate the deaths. "We flew drones at a height of 15 meters above the ground as we can't walk in to confirm the deaths," Nattapong Sirichanam, governor of Nakhorn Nayok province, told reporters on Tuesday.
After analyzing drone footage, authorities concluded five more dead elephants were discovered in addition to the six previously reported.
"We assume that there were 13 elephants in this herd and two of them survived," Nattapong added. "We are 100% confident that two of them are alive as the officials saw them going out for food around the area of Haew Narok falls."
At about 3 am on Saturday, officials were called in after a group of elephants was found to be blocking a road by the waterfall.
Authorities found the body of a three-and-a-half-year-old calf at the base of the hills about three hours later, shortly before five more bodies were discovered nearby.
That said, two other elephants were successfully rescued after they became stuck on a ledge and appeared extremely distressed.
According to Edwin Wiek, founder of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, any elephants left in the herd would find it difficult to survive in the wild as they solely rely on each other for food and protection.
"It's like losing half your family," Wiek told the BBC. "There's nothing you can do, it's nature, unfortunately."
Having said that, the death toll of 11 is reportedly the highest number of elephants to lose their lives in a single incident at the national park, where the elephant population is estimated to be about 300.