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Two runners, who tried to take selfie with a wild elephant in Khao Yai National Park, had to sprint for their lives after it turned on them and chased them.
The runners had tried to take photos with the elephant despite repeated warnings by park authorities to avoid bothering the elephants and taking photos with them, as they were wild animals.
Kamron wrote on his Facebook page that he went to the park on September 13, taking a road from Prachin Buri province. After passing the checkpoint at about 4pm, he spotted the pachyderm that was eating leaves on a side of the road about a kilometre from the checkpoint.
“I stopped my car and took photos of the elephant. Drivers of vehicles that followed me along the road spotted it also and refused to drive past it. So I led them past the elephant which appeared to pay no attention to us.”
After passing it, Kamron parked his car with the engine on to be ready in case of emergency. “After about 14 kilometres, the elephant was eating leaves when I saw two runners go near the animal and take selfies with it. When they went nearer, I turned to change my lens. When I turned back, I saw the elephant quietly running towards them.”
Kamron said he shouted “watch out” and the runners sprinted for their lives. During those three seconds, Kamron said he took about 35 photos of the elephant chasing the two. “When the runners had gone far ahead of the animal, it stopped chasing. But when they stopped running, it chased them again but this time, it made a loud noise. This happened about three times.
After that, the apparently angry pachyderm stood in the middle of the road, blocking all vehicles until park officials came to chase it away.
Meanwhile, Kanchit Sri-noppawan, chief of the national park, said the runners should not have gone near the elephant to take selfies. “Such acts are very dangerous because if the elephant gets angry, it could attack and kill them. It’s a warning to other tourists as well. They are very lucky that the animal was not very angry.
“People can gauge an elephant’s feelings by looking at its ears and tails. If it is moving its ears back and forth, it suggests that it is in a good mood. But if it raises its ears and points its tail, that’s a warning that it is very disturbed and could harm people.”