By The Nation
Gun owners in the area are being interviewed.
Police chief Pol Maj General Pattana Pesayanawin said the 20-year-old male elephant known as Plai Nga Ngam was the 22nd wild elephant killed in the park.
Pol Colonel Chana Suwankomon, leading one of three teams investigating the killing, estimated it would take two or three days to solve the case.
Police surmise that the animal was killed either for its tusks or because it raided cropland.
Chana said the wounded elephant covered some distance before dying, but the likely location of the shooting had been identified.
He said officers were checking on the owners of about 60 rifles registered in surrounding Kui Buri, Muang and Sam Roy Yot districts.
Bullet fragments retrieved from the elephant’s wounds above the left eye and left buttock were undergoing forensic tests, he said.
A lab at Mahidol University in Nakhon Pathom was examining tissue from the animal’s stomach and upper respiratory tract, the latter showing signs of severe inflammation.
Ban Yang Chum Nua (Moo 6) village headman Arunchai Sommit said there was a problem with elephants raiding farm crops, but he called the killing an act of cruelty.
He urged park officials and soldiers to patrol the area more frequently to protect the forest wildlife, whose populations have increased in recent years, boosting tourism income.