By Chaiwat Satyaem
Prachuap Khiri Khan: Police believe a dead elephant discovered in the Kui Buri National Park last week was deliberately poisoned.
A bag of white powder was found next to the jumbo.
Prachuap Khiri Khan police chief Thanet Sunthonsuk said police gave weight to poisoning as the probable cause.
Blood found on the trunk and mouth of the jumbo during an initial examination corroborated this theory.
Police believe there is a chance that whoever poisoned the elephant wanted to show off their work by leaving the bag of powder in full view.
Fingerprints found on the bag will lead to the identification and arrest of the suspect, said Pol Maj Gen Thanet yesterday.
The six-year-old wild male elephant was found dead last Tuesday near Kunchon creek in the park, part of a forest restoration area under a royally initiated project.
Experts are certain it died of unnatural causes and are determining what kind of substance the white powder is.
Police said the bag looked to have contained a toxic substance and are tracing where the powder could have been bought.
Pol Maj Gen Thanet said police have narrowed their search to local shops selling farm chemicals.
However, he maintained it was not yet possible to pinpoint the substance, since more time is needed before laboratory test results are released, insisting investigators are unable to rush the probe.
The wild elephant's death came as some farmers in Kui Buri district filed complaints about wild elephants invading their farms, according to police.
In the past, wild elephants from protected forests have been found foraging for food in pineapple farms, causing extensive damage to crops.
Some farmers have put up electric fences to ward off the elephants.
Investigators said they need to question more witnesses to ascertain the cause of the latest elephant death.