A 56-year old veterinarian who runs a home for retired circus elephants had died after being trampled by one of his elephants, according to a report by BBC.
James Laurita who ran the “Hope Elephant” home with his brother since 2011 after working as an elephant handler at a travelling circus fell at the barn in the home with officials ruling his death as an accident.
The board of “Hope Elephants” say it was “deeply saddened” by his death
“Jim’s passion for all animals, but especially elephants, was boundless,” they said in a statement, asking for privacy for late Laurita’s family
He had also worked with elephants at the Bronx Zoo and Oregon’s Wildlife Safari
Laurita also worked with elephants at the Bronx Zoo and at Wildlife Safari in Oregon.
On Tuesday, September 9, 2014 Maine officials stated that Laurita was found unresponsive at the facility premises where he had apparently fallen and hit his head on the concrete before he trampled on the chest by an elephant.
“The elephant was not aggressive in any way. It was clearly an accident,” said Mark Belserene, of the Maine state medical examiner’s office.
Mr. Belserene affirmed that the cause of death was “asphyxiation and multiple fractures caused by compression of the chest”.