The incident took place at a 50-rai orchard in the remote village of Ban Nong Pao Pi in Salalai sub-district of Sam Roi Yot district. It took local authorities including rangers from Kui Buri National Park two hours to reach the site in the Hup Takhian Yak valley.
There they found the dead male elephant aged bewteen 10 and 12 years and weighing about 1.5 tonnes with tusks of about 50 centimetres long. There was no assault wound but there were burn marks on the tusks that had become snagged on two exposed wires.
Officials said the wires had been set up to fence off the orchard against intrusions by wild elephants from Kui Buri National Park. They were connected to a 230-volt, two-kilowatt generator installed in the workers' living quarters. There was no circuit breaker.
The practice was more extreme than that used by other local farmers, who power bare wires with batteries that would shock but not kill wild elephants.
The 66-year-old orchard owner was charged under the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act and faces up to four years in jail if convicted.