Authorities in Thailand say a tourist that was apparently trampled by elephants is a recent college graduate from upstate New York, who loved animals.
On Friday the US State Department identified the woman as 24-year-old Lily Glidden, of Freeville, a small village near Ithaca, New York.
The woman’s body was found by Thai park rangers on January 18, five days after she had left on her own from a campground in Kaeng Krachan National Park in the western province of Petchaburi.
The Thai elephant attack victim was a recent graduate with a major in biology and a 2012 graduate of Tufts University, who was an animals and outdoors enthusiast.
In a statement, Tufts University — based out of Medford, Massachusetts — said it was saddened to hear about Glidden’s tragic death:
“We extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of this talented young woman.”
We are saddened by the death of Lily Glidden, class of 2012. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.
— Tufts University (@TuftsUniversity) January 24, 2014
Due to the severity of the injuries sustained by Glidden, Thai authorities believe she was attacked by elephants, however, the investigation continued.
“Looking at the pictures she took in her camera, we see a lot of animals, birds, snakes, lizards,” police Colonel Woradet Suanklaai said. “We assumed she wanted to take pictures of elephants because that’s what the Kaeng Krachan National Park is famous for.”
Kaeng Krachan, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) southwest of Bangkok, is the largest national park in Thailand.
According to her family, Glidden was very experienced with wild animals and not one to put herself in an unnecessary dangerous situation.
The family of the Thai elephant attack said in a statement to NBC that Glidden was “educated and dedicated respect for the natural world” and was comfortable in it. It said she did extensive hiking and backpacking and knew how to respond to chance encounters with bears and other potentially dangerous animals. The family is devastated by the news of Glidden’s death.
Her Facebook page shows several photos reflecting her love and passion for animals and the outdoors. Lily Glidden is shown with turtles, snakes, llamas, and visiting Yellowstone and the Colorado River.
The death of the victim in the Thai elephant attack seems to be a terrible accident as she was not a novice when it came to the wild and was likely caught in a situation she couldn’t escape, resulting in her death.