FREEVILLE, N.Y. A tourist apparently trampled to death by elephants in Thailand was a recent college graduate from upstate New York who loved animals, authorities said Friday.
The Department of State identified her as Lily Glidden, of Freeville, a small village near Ithaca. Glidden’s body was found by Thai park rangers on Jan. 18, five days after she had left alone from a campground in Kaeng Krachan National Park in the western province of Petchaburi.
Glidden, 24, was a biology major and a 2012 graduate of Tufts University who had avid interests in animals and the outdoors.
Tufts, based in Medford, Mass., said it was “saddened to learn of the death of Lily Glidden.”
“We extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of this talented young woman,” university officials said in a statement.
Authorities in Thailand said Thursday the severity of Glidden’s injuries led them to believe she was attacked by elephants, but the investigation was continuing.
“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.”
Kaeng Krachan, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) southwest of Bangkok, is the largest national park in Thailand.
Glidden’s family said in a statement reported by NBC News that she was “very aware of the dangers of working with wildlife and not a person to court foolish risks, particularly where animals were involved.”
Photos on Glidden’s Facebook page show her working with snakes and wolves, and several of her likes feature images of elephants.
Her family said she had “an 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.
Glidden, as president of the Tufts Mountain Club, participated in a 2010 presentation by members of Primitive Pursuits, an Ithaca-based wilderness education program, the campus newspaper said.