A 50-year-old male elephant, which reportedly appeared in a movie about Alexander the Great, was poisoned to death and its metre-long tusks sawn off early yesterday.
Police suspect a former worker at the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal was responsible.
Ayutthaya police chief Pol Maj-General Sermkid Sitthichaikan led officers to inspect the bank of the Lop Buri River, where the body of Phlai Khlao was found yesterday morning.
Sermkid said the former worker, who has a prior record for theft, was spotted around the kraal in recent days and reportedly had a drinking party at a bridge area near the scene on the day.
Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal owner Laithonglian Meephan said he loved this elephant, which had been in Ayutthaya since 1999.
He said the bull was not used for labour but was chained at a spot near Phraya Phetch Island pending use for important events.
He said the elephant, whose metre-long tusks were beautiful and appeared in Oliver Stone's film "Alexander".
He said he would beef up security for elephants after this incident.