Five elephants died in Thailand while trying to rescue another elephant that fell into the water in a national park.
(Warning: this article contains graphic images)
The situation unfolded at Haew Narok Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park on Saturday, October 5.
The elephant that fell was about three years old.
The country's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said in a statement that the body of the juvenile elephant was found Saturday after park staff listened to elephants in the area.
The elephant drowned in the first row of the waterfall.
The bodies of five other wild elephants were found nearby and authorities said the animals were trying to rescue the first one that fell.
Two other elephants were on the cliff side of the waterfall "trying to get down to help the baby elephant," authorities said in the statement.
The park reported that tourists are being excluded from the site as authorities are monitoring the two elephants that are still alive.
Khao Yai National Park is Thailand's first national park and was created in 1962.
It includes evergreen and rainforests, grasslands, and mountains.
According to the Thailand Tourism Directory, the Haew Narok Waterfall consists of three levels: the first level is a 50 meter high steep cliff and the other two levels "are quite dangerous and are not open to the public."
The waterfall is one of the highest in the national park. A viewpoint can be reached by walking approximately one kilometer from a parking area.
One or two elephants have fallen from cliffs annually since 1987, according to the directory.
The worst loss was in 1992, when eight elephants fell into the waterfall and died.
The park put some protective items in place after those deaths to try to prevent more elephants from falling into the waterfall.
The loss of all six on Saturday could affect the surviving elephants emotionally, Edwin Wiek, founder of the Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand, told the BBC.
He explained that the pair could have a hard time surviving because elephants often travel in herds to protect themselves and help find food.
"It's like losing half your family," Wiek said. "There is nothing you can do, it is nature, unfortunately."
By Zachary Stieber, for The Epoch Times