An elephant that raided a school mysteriously died while being sedated as it was transported to a wildlife facility.
The jumbo, Playangwang, sparked panic after entering the school grounds aggressively in Chonburi province, Thailand, on January 23.
Wildlife officers were called to capture the wild animal but it bolted and ran into nearby woodland to evade them.
The jumbo finally slowed down after being shot with a tranquillizer gun before the team carried it to the back of their truck to be transported to an elephant treatment centre in the forest in Sa Kaeo Province.
However, the elephant suddenly showed signs of breathing difficulty so they had to stop while travelling to check on it.
Soon after, the animal’s heart stopped beating despite the teams attempt to revive it until it was declared dead.
The jumbo was taken for an autopsy and forensic examinations showed that the elephant may have died from suffocation due to choking.
Several pieces of food were found inside Playanwang’s stomach and its internal organs such as liver and kidneys were larger than normal. Its intestines also had red dots and the spleen looked pale.
However, there are some speculations that the bull may have died from tranquilizer overdose.
Sompong Thongseekem, director of the Wildlife Conservation Office, said the officers reportedly used the correct dosage of anaesthetics but they will still investigate the issue.
He said: ‘Regarding the speculation that we used the wrong dosage of tranquillizers, we confirm that we used the correct dosage but we will still look into it.’
The wildlife boss said a more detailed autopsy will further be needed to determine the cause of death which is expected to be released next week.