The caged Asian elephant attacked Inthavong Khamphone, 30 -- a Laotian national employed by Fuji Safari Park, near the foot of Mt. Fuji -- as Inthavong was performing a customary check on the baby elephant around 3:10 A.M. Tuesday, police and park officials said.
Inthavong was found collapsed and bleeding when he was removed from the enclosure, The Mainichi reported. The Tokyo-based newspaper said Inthavong had been with the park since July after 15 years of involvement in elephant-keeping.
Staff typically observe mother and baby elephants from a distance at the park, but officials said Inthavong entered the enclosure after the mother showed signs of harming the baby.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]