Magnificent elephant killed, tusks hacked off
This elephant was magnificent in the battle scene in Alexander the movie, dramatically rearing up on its hind legs in attack.
But the famous elephant's life came to a sad end at the hands of what police say are amateur poachers in Ayutthaya.
Phlai Khlao was poisoned and killed overnight in a crude job discovered on Friday, reported Bangkok Post.
Investigators suspect youths, probably drug addicts, had poisoned the elephant patriarch and sawn off part of the tusks with a portable electric saw.
But the killers were ignorant that the base of the tusk had to be included for the tusk to be fully valued.
The 50-year-old bull elephant was involved in the epic battle against Alexander the Great in the 2004 film Alexander, which starred Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie.
The venerated animal also served in several royal ceremonies - and believed to be worth at least 4 million baht (S$154,400).
It was buried on Friday with religious rites conducted by local monks.
The chief suspect is a former mahout who was sacked due to his drug addiction, although police said he has denied involvement.
Police, soldiers and local officials were said to be hunting down other suspects.
Thailand, which has a large legal domestic ivory market, is one of the countries targeted by wildlife activists as a centre of the illegal ivory trade.
Source: Bangkok Post, YouTube