Lonely Planet Writer

Elephant kills handler but leaves tourists unharmed in Thai jungle trek

An elephant has gored its mahout (handler) to death before running off into the jungle near Chiang Mai, northern Thailand, with three Chinese tourists on its back.

An elephant trek in Chiang Mai.
An elephant trek in Chiang Mai. Image by Dennis Jarvis / CC BY-SA 2.0

The bull elephant, who police say turned suddenly on his new mahout, was later led back to the camp with the unharmed tourists still on its back. Elephant rides are a popular and lucrative tourist activity in Thailand but animal rights groups say it is cruel and stressful for the animals, who are subject to abuse in order for them to accept riders. Read more: theguardian.com