A British tourist, named as 36-year old Gareth Crowe, has been killed in Thailand following an accident during an elephant trek. Mr Crowe and his 16-year old daughter were riding the elephant when it turned on its handler – known as a mahout – who was taking photos of the tourists. It’s believed that the elephant threw the riders off, and that Mr Crowe was gored by the elephant’s tusk before it ran away into the forest.
Mr Crowe was on holiday in Koh Samui with his partner and two children at the time of the accident. His daughter is being treated in hospital for minor injuries, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have stated that they are offering support to the family. A local investigation has been launched.
Many animal protection organisations have spoken out about the cruelty inflicted upon animals, such as elephants, which become tourist attractions. Thailand has an estimated population of 4,000 domesticated elephants, many of which are used by the tourist industry. It has been reported that the elephant was taken back to its owners, Island Safari, and will be moved to another branch of the trekking company following a 15 day break.