Minister of Wild life and Sustainable Development Gamini Jayawickrama Perera says a full investigation has been launched into the incident.
The elephant was stuck in an agrarian well in Omanthai Vavuniya since Sunday.
In all, four elephants fell into the well and two elephants were rescued on Sunday night.
An attempt was made by the Vavuniya wildlife officials to rescue the two other elephants yesterday.
In the attempt to rescue the two elephants using a backhoe one elephant got out but came face to face with the vehicle.
Television footage showed the elephant attacking the backhoe while it was trying to make its way back into the jungle.
A wildlife official in the backhoe panicked and opened fire on the elephant and killed the beast. (Colombo Gazette)