Atork the Elephant suffered 2-hours before dying after authorities used AK-47

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Tourists visiting eastern Cambodia who wanted better pictures of a 60-year-old elephant and begged the handler to unchain the animal, watched as police opened fire on Atork the elephant after he trampled his owner to death before going on a rampage. According to the Daily Mail, the elephant named suffered for two hours before he died after police shot him three times.

Witnesses reported Atork and his female mate Me Krapum had been released from their shackles when tourists wanted to get better photos of the elephants, but soon after, the owner of the male elephant, Choeung Team, 47, was found dead as Atork went on a rampage – destroying several homes and damaging a police vehicle. Authorities wouldn’t wait for wildlife experts from the nearby Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center to arrive to tranquilize the elephant- stating they were afraid lives were in danger.

It is not known why tranquilizers were not available locally to be used on Atork, however it has been reported fireworks and a water cannon were used to scare him, but none of that worked. And when the police fired with AK-47 rifles at Atork; hitting him in the head, heart and leg, the huge animal fell to the ground. Me Krapum’s handler told news media that tears ran down the female elephant’s face as she watched her beloved mate slowly die in agony. Her handler quickly took her away – in fear she would become fierce over her mate’s death.

Atork was the family’s “money tree”; just another tragic lesson keeping animals cruelly shackled. The handler’s widow was allowed to keep Atork’s tusks, but the family is liable for the damage. Atork and Choeung were buried near each other. It is not known exactly why Atork became so violent, but when male elephants are in musth (surge of hormones in male elephants for mating) they can become very aggressive. Then there is also the incredible intelligence of elephants who “never forget.” Asian training techniques often involve “breaking the will” approach to baby elephants where their movements are restricted and they are beaten into submission. It is unknown what makes an elephant “snap” later in life.

Rest in peace Atork. We are sorry humans abused you for giving tourists rides and performing in shows; just another disturbing reminder of animal cruelty in other forms.

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(Photo and video via World News)

Video is graphic and may not be suitable for all viewers:


18 replies
  1. Rev. Dr. Yvonne Ray says:

    Elephants don’t go “rogue” for no reason. Only God and this elephant knew what he endured in life.

  2. debor33 says:

    This is so so sad…I have every feeling that Atork reacted the way he did because of years of abuse…his owner probably subjected him to cruel punishment & when he got free he gave in to his emotions and went after his abusers….my next question is why did they shoot him and let him suffer for 2 hours….that is cruel and unusual punishment….hadn’t he suffered enough, they had him since he was a baby and used and abused him for 60 years….I can understand his rage…..I think PETA should go in and get his mate and let her live her life out in an elephant sanctuary and have a chance to find another mate….elephants are sensitive and family oriented animals…..please help her…..

  3. ellen cottone says:

    The last great act of defiance.
    Hes waited a life time for his chance to be free from the yoke of crewl tyrinny.

    Pray for the deliverance of asia and african elephants.
    If prayer is not natural to you. Sommon your power thru visulation.
    never miss an oppertunity to harness your moral out rage. for positive out come.

  4. ellen cottone says:

    They really dont know what made the elephant go bizzerk!? really!?
    how about bull hooking him as an abducted child.
    how about witnessing his mother killed by pochers and her small tuskes torn from her face.
    how about how the pochers left him to starve by her dead body as predators close in.
    Crying , yes crying till the second most despised creatures on the elephant black market tradesmen list. the ones who come and collect him weak and dying and sell him into slavery.
    into the hands of a human family the ones who bull hook a baby elephant.
    look at any pic ao a captive elephant even here in america they all carry the scare of the brutality of the bull hook.
    They take a giant sharp metal hook and strip and tear its ear from top to bottom.
    every captive elephant has it yes even barnum and baily.
    They dont know why the murderious rampage!? hes fuckin had it. And frankly so have I

  5. Silvia says:

    The trainer got what he attracted, the wrath of this chained male elephant, and for what a stupid photo, the shackles clearly tell me that all Cambodian, Asian elephants are forced to do whatever makes the person who stole him from the wild money, elephants bond, love, grieve as we do, after 60 years the dumbass authorities could have tranquilized him, AK 47’s, they went to war on that elephant, literally. I am an animal advocate, actually any kind, caring person would find the over abundance of assaults on all animals have accelerated, THEY ARE SENTIENT BEINGS< LIVE AND LET LIVE!

  6. Nancy Raymond says:

    I have ZERO sympathy for the human Atork killed – I am sure this poor animal suffered years of abuse, neglect and cruelty – forced to live chained and be entertainment for idiotic tourists – this elephant deserved MUCH better and was denied a free life by greedy uncaring humans – AND these brain dead so called ‘authorities’ let him suffer before dying – another cruel act inflicted on an innocent animal.


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