A male banteng (a species of wild cattle) has been found shot to death in a national forest reserve in Lan Sak district of Uthai Thani province.
Forest rangers from Huay Kha Kheng wildlife sanctuary, accompanied by Lan Sak district police, went to the Huay Thai Seba-Huay Kok Kwai national forest reserve in Tambon Rapa to examine the banteng's carcass.
Ms Pimchanok Songmongkol, a veterinarian working at the wildlife sanctuary, found three bullet holes in the neck of the wild cattle which was estimated to weigh about 700 kilogrammes. Three bullets which were extracted from the animal's neck were kept as evidence.
Mr Sompote Maneerat, spokesman of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation and former chief of Huay Kha Kheng wildlife sactury, said he suspected the banteng might have been shot by villagers or hunters for its head as a trophy to be sold to collectors.
He said the animal had ventured out of the wildlife sanctuary to search for food and was shot, but it didn't die instantly and ran away from the spot where it was shot until it collapsed.
He said he learned that the hunters tried to return to the forest to claim the banteng's head.
Banteng is regarded as Category Two protected species and there are about 300 left in forests throughout the country, mostly in Huay Kha Kheng wildlife sanctuary.
Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (ThaiPBS)