Five wild elephants die while trying to save calf that was swept into waterfall, were heard 'crying' for help
Officials in the Khao Yai National Park were alerted and called to the location when elephants were heard "crying" for help at 3:00 am local time on Saturday
Six wild elephants drowned in north-east Thailand after slipping off a waterfall in the Khao Yai National Park, according to BBC.
The horrific incident reportedly took place after a baby elephant slipped off the dangerous fall—locally known as Haew Narok or Hell's Fall. When the adult elephants were trying to save the calf, they are believed to have slipped or swept away by the water.
Meanwhile, two other elephants were saved when Thai authorities spotted them struggling on a cliff edge nearby.
The Thai Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) said officials in the Khao Yai National Park were alerted and called to the location when elephants were heard "crying" for help at 3:00 am local time on Saturday. The group of elephants was seen blocking a road near the waterfall.
According to ABC, local official Badin Chansrikam said, "Probably, one of the smaller elephants might have slid and the adult ones were trying to rescue it but instead were swept away by the water."
Khanchit Srinoppawan, chief of the national park, told the BBC that the two remaining elephants were being monitored.
Edwin Wiek, the founder of Wildlife Friends Foundation, Thailand, told the newspaper the pair may have difficulty surviving as elephants move with large herds for protection and to find food. "It's like losing half your family. There's nothing you can do. It's nature, unfortunately."
The risky location has reported a series of incidents in the past. The BBC reported that a herd of eight elephants died after falling off the cliff in 1992 in a case that caught national attention.
The tragic incident could also take an emotional toll on the surviving elephants.
After two elephants died earlier this year at an Indianapolis Zoo, officials confirmed that the rest of the herd reacted emotionally. "This is probably just as difficult for our elephants. We know that elephants grieve. They are intensely social," Indianapolis Zoo President Rob Shumaker said at the time.