A female elephant has killed seven people in Thailand`s Trang province in the past month and continues to scare locals, Thai media said on Monday.
In late June, the elephant, called Nathalie, became enraged and broke free from her ties, trampling three people to death.
After that the owner chained the animal to a tree, but on July 15 Nathalie broke the chain again and killed four more people, the Thai Post reported.
Nathalie was again caught and chained and local authorities are considering what to do with the killer elephant. The elephant cannot be put down because Thais consider the giant mammals as family members and even sacred animals, symbols of Buddhism and attributes of royalty.
Local authorities have not put responsibility for the deaths on the owner of the elephant, Somchoke Chooban, a local clerk, and are investigating the causes of the two accidents.
Somchoke Chooban bought Nathalie six months ago for 640,000 Thai bats (about $20,000). The previous owner said Nathalie had attacked people before. Now Somchoke is trying to sell the elephant to compensate the families of the victims, one of whom is his own brother.
Experts cannot explain the aggressive behavior of the elephant. Nathalie used to carry elephant-trekking tourists, and is said to be "basically a kind animal." Some elephant-training specialists suppose that the changes in the elephant`s behavior can be explained by some harm, which people did her in the past as elephants have good memory.
Trang Governor Somphong Anuyuthaphong also said that the husbandry department would check the elephant for possible addiction to narcotic drugs such as amphetamine. He explained that some owners let their elephants imbibe drug to enable them to withstand hard work. Somphong said drugs can alter the behavior of elephants, making them more aggressive and stressful, the local Samui Express news website reported.