Residents of a small Kenyan village hacked an elephant to death with axes and machetes in a gruesome scene caught on video.
The devastating clip — that went viral on Twitter this week — shows a group of men taking turns slashing the blood-soaked elephant on its back and hind legs as it lies helplessly on the ground.
Shortly after, the elephant attempts to stand up while exposing a huge bloody gash on its back right foot before falling back to the ground. The cameraman then attempts to get closer to the elephant, but the tortured animal bats him away with its trunk.
A second video clip shows the elephant on its left side as the villagers hack at its face and trunk.
Though it’s unclear who recorded the footage, the Kenya Wildlife Service confirmed in a letter Tuesday that the brutal killing happened in the Ncoorolboro-Imenti forest in Meru on June 21 of last year.
Villagers weren’t after the elephant’s valuable ivory tusks, but were instead trying to “chase away” the elephant after it broke through an electric fence and “raided” their farm, the letter states.
One managed to escape their wrath and run to freedom. But the second elephant wasn’t so lucky and broke its legs after falling in a ditch created by a fallen tree.
Animal rescuers from KWS rushed to the scene after catching wind of the incident, but the 44-mile trek to the location allowed the killers to escape. All they found was the elephant’s carcass.
Authorities said they will now pursue charges against the elephant killers with the video as evidence.
But some have taken to Twitter to criticize the rescue group for not acting sooner.
“We will not rest until the people who killed the elephant are brought to book,” wrote @BensonKibore. “It is unacceptable!”
Kenya is home to approximately 35,000 elephants, according to KWS. Poaching continues to plague the country, taking the lives of thousands of elephants each year, such as the one found mutilated in Botswana.
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