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Lily Glidden: Elephants trample 'fearless' college grad in Thailand

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Authorities in Thailand have reported that they believe Lily Glidden, a 24-year-old recent Tufts University biology graduate, was killed, trampled by elephants, while taking photos of them in Kaeng Krachan National Park in the western part of the nation.

The Associated Press reported (via Yahoo News) Jan. 24 that Lily Glidden's body was found by Thai park rangers on Jan. 18. She had been missing, gone for five days from a park campground. She had left alone.

According to Thai authorities, Glidden's injuries were indicative of being attacked and/or trampled by elephants. However, they also admitted that their findings as yet were inconclusive and that the investigation was ongoing.

"Looking at the pictures she took in her camera, we see a lot of animals, birds, snakes, lizards," police Col. Woradet Suanklaai said. "We assumed she wanted to take pictures of elephants because that's what the Kaeng Krachan National Park is famous for."

The park is the largest in Thailand, located about 120 miles southwest of Bangkok.

And Lily Glidden was no nature novice, either, according to her parents. In a statement released to NBC News, the family noted that Glidden was "very aware of the dangers of working with wildlife and not a person to court foolish risks, particularly where animals were involved." The statement went on to say that the family would like Glidden remembered as a "fearless individual" that was "an extremely competent professional in her chosen field."

And still...

Even an accidental brush with an elephant could cause serious injury, an unconscious body just an obstacle. Working around and near wild animals, even those that have been around humans for extended periods of time, offers the potential of becoming dangerous.

Like, for instance, when intern Dianna Hanson was killed by a lion at Cat Haven animal sanctuary in Fresno County, California. She'd been working at the sanctuary for two months when she accidentally left the big cat's cage door open behind her. The Daily Mail and Associated Press reported in April that the animal came up behind her, killing her with one leap, snapping her neck. Although they could not be certain, investigators said that the lion may have simply wanted to play. According to the investigative report, Hanson's death was the result of a "tragic mistake."

According to the 2005 National Geographic documentary "Elephant Rage," about 500 people are killed annually in elephant attacks. And that number was on the increase.

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