A mother elephant stamper an elephant keeper to death on Tuesday, October 16, 2012 at the Fuji Safari Park located near Mt. Fuji in Japan.
Inthavong Khamphone, had apparently watched the mother elephant give birth to a calf on October 14, 2012, and was trampled to death two days later after he tried to stop the mother from attacking her new-born.
Noble. Just not very smart. Elephants are not stupid creatures, but I would bet dollars to donuts that they sometimes go a little crazy, just as humans do.
According to local police, Kamphone, 30, who was from Laos: "... entered the cage with another keeper because the mother started attacking the baby. The mother then started attacking Khamphone."
Khamphone died after the two-tonne elephant stood on his chest.
Khamphone, an elephant specialist, had apparently come over from Laos with the same mother elephant this past July.
My big question is... are there elephants in Laos? Holy crap! There are. Apparently Laos was so famous for the number of Asian elephants, it was nicknamed Prathet Lane Xane (Land of a Million Elephants). Sadly, there are now suspected to be about 700 left in the wild.
I had never even heard of the Asian elephant. I had only heard of the African and Indian elephants.
Apparently, there is the familiar large-eared African elephant species; African Forest Elephant species; Asian Elephant species (small ears). Got that?
Okay... there are two sub-species of African elephant: African Bush; African Savanna; and the extinct North African subspecies.
There are no sub-species of African Forest elephant.
As for the sub-species of Asian elephant, there are four, possibly five sub-species of the Asian elephant (Indian; Sri Lanken; Sumatran; Borneo or Asian Pygmy; with the Laos Elephant, also known as the Vietnam Elephant which is undergoing testing to see if it is an actual sub-species or not).
And, FYI, two sub-species of Asian elephant are now extinct: Chinese elephant (14th century BC) and the Syrian elephant (~100BC).
Anyhow... now you know a lot about elephants. Never try to break up a fight between elephants is very important knowledge to know.
As for the photo above... that is NOT the elephant and calf mentioned in the story.
As for the brave man who cared about the welfare of that baby elephant... your heart was in the right place.