Five Elephants Die Trying To Save Baby Who Slipped Over Waterfall

by : Emily Brown on : 05 Oct 2019 15:42
Six elephants die after falling down waterfallThailand DNP

Five elephants are thought to have tragically died while trying to save one of their babies which had slipped over the edge of a waterfall. 

The waterfall, located in southern Thailand’s Khao Yai National Park, is known locally as Haew Narok (Hell’s Fall).


Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) explained officials were called to the scene in the early hours of Saturday morning when a group of elephants were found blocking a road by the waterfall.

Around three hours later, the baby elephant was spotted at the foot of the waterfall while the five other dead animals were seen nearby, BBC News report.

Two living elephants were reportedly also seen on a near cliff edge, though Thai authorities are attempting to move them.


Haew Narok is made up of three drops totalling over 150m in height. It is a popular tourist attraction but following the elephants’ death today it has been made off-limits.

Thanya Netithamkul, chief of the DNP, told local media park rangers heard elephants crying in the creek leading to the waterfall on Saturday morning, xinhuanews reports.

She explained:


Park officials rushed to the scene to find a baby elephant aged around three years drowned on the top layer of the waterfall. They also noticed two adult elephants, which were frantically trying to advance into the flowing water to save their young, looking extremely exhausted.

I have ordered the national park to close the area to tourists, and will find ways to prevent such accidents from happening again in the future.

Elephants rely on each other for protection and finding food, and as a result of the saddening incident Edwin Wiek, the founder of Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, said any elephants left in the herd would have difficulty surviving.

The incident could also take an emotional toll on the animals as they have been known to display signs of grief.


Speaking to the BBC, he said:

It’s like losing half your family.

There’s nothing you can do, it’s nature unfortunately.


The incident isn’t the first of its kind to take place at Haew Narok. In 1992, a herd of eight elephants all died after falling down the cliff.


Khao Yai National Park, where the waterfall is located, is Thailand’s third largest national park. It is well known for the wild animals roaming freely in the area.

It is unclear when, or if, the waterfall will reopen to visitors.

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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Animals, elephants, Thailand


BBC and 2 others
  1. BBC

    Six elephants die trying to save each other at Thai waterfall

  2. World of Waterfalls

    Haew Narok Waterfall (Nam tok Haeo Narok)

  3. xinhuanet.com

    Thai popular waterfall declared off-limits after six elephants fell and drown