Drone spots five more dead elephants at Thailand waterfall

AP Two elephants are seen stuck on the edge of the Haew Narok Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park Nakhon Nayok central Thailand

Nakhon Nayok governor Natthapong Sirichana on Tuesday announced the discovery of five more dead elephants in Haew Narok waterfall near the location where six others were found dead on Saturday.

It is thought the animals may have been trying to save a baby elephant that slipped over the edge. "Probably, one of the smaller elephants might have slid and the adult ones were trying to rescue them but instead, were swept away by the water".

As officials investigated how the first six elephants fell to their deaths, they spotted the second group of five carcasses by drone, spokesman Sompote Maneerat said. "We are 100 per cent confident that two of them are alive as the officials saw them going out for food around the area of Haew Narok falls", Mr Sirichanam said.

The 2,000-square kilometre Kao Yai National Park is believed to have around 300 wild elephants as well as other wildlife.

He said officials were only able to spot the additional bodies of elephants after the sky had cleared up on Monday.

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Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand founder Edwin Wiek told the BBC that the two remaining elephants in the herd may now be at risk, adding that the elephants' well-known mourning behaviors may further stress the animals: "It's like losing half your family".

According to the Bangkok Post, the new death toll makes it one of the biggest losses to Thailand's elephant population in recent memory.

The waterfall is closed to the public following the incident. This is not, in fact, the first time that such a tragedy has occurred at Haew Narok; in 1992, according to the BBC, a herd of eight elephants plunged to their deaths there.

Khao Yai is Thailand's third-largest national park.

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