Have national park workers been unfairly accused of being involved in the poaching of elephant tusks? Their boss says yes.
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Livestock and wildlife authorities examine part of an elephant carcass found in the Kaeng Krachan National Park before removing it for an autopsy. PIYABUTR PHO-KLANG
Park workers did not break law, boss says
PHETCHABURI : The National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department director-general insists his five subordinates who burned elephant carcasses and extracted their tusks did not break the law.
On Saturday, police arrested four of five suspects, all of whom are employees of Kaeng Krachan National Park. They are Surin Maikaew, Mana Nokkaew, Jinda Phuangmalai and Phol Thom ya.
The fifth suspect, Suriyon Pothibandit, assistant to Kaeng Krachan National Park chief Chaiwat Limlikit-auksorn, is expected to turn himself in today.
Damrong Pidech, the department director-general, yesterday visited Padeng village in tambon Huay Sat Yai in Phetchaburi's Kang Krachan district to get first-hand information on the case.
He obtained photos and papers from Mr Chaiwat, showing that the carcass of a young elephant found there was set on fire on Jan 1.
Mr Damrong said photos taken by authorities and reports about the burning could be used as evidence to show his officials followed the law.
He said Mr Suriyon reported the discovery of the carcass on Dec 31.
Mr Suriyon later sent the report to the department's veterinarians asking for suggestions on how to deal with the carcass.
The veterinarian team said the park officials had authority to bury, burn or spray chemicals on the carcass, he said.
Mr Damrong said the officials decided to burn the dead elephant and extract its tusks, as they feared they may be poached.
"The photos we have can be used as key evidence. If our officials really wanted the tusks [for themselves], why would they take such photos?" he said.
"The most important thing now is to find out who killed the elephant."
The photos, shared with reporters, show a young elephant with tusks, lying dead in the forest. It was taken on Jan 1 at 11.23am.
Another photo was taken when the carcass was set on fire the same day at 1.01pm. But the reporters did not see any photos of the tusks being burnt.
"I want to ask why officials protecting the forest are in jail, and why the culprits [who killed the elephant] are still free," said Mr Chaiwat.
livestock – animals such as cows, sheep, chickens and pigs that are kept on farms ปศุสัตว์
wildlife – animals, birds, insects, etc. that are wild and live in a natural environment สัตว์ป่า
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
carcass – the body of a dead animal ซาก
autopsy – a medical examination of a dead body to find out why they died การชันสูตรศพ
conservation – the protection of plants and animals, natural areas, and interesting and important structures and buildings, especially from the damaging effects of human activity การอนุรักษ์ธรรมชาติ, การป้องกันความสูญเสีย, การสงวนไว้
Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation – an agency of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (Thailand) กรมอุทยานแห่งชาติ สัตว์ป่า และพันธุ์พืช
insist – to keep saying very firmly that something is true ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
subordinate – someone who has less power or authority than someone else ผู้ใต้บังคับบัญชา สมุน
extract – to remove a substance from another substance สกัด
tusk – either of the two long pointed teeth which stick out from the mouth of some animals such as elephants งาช้าง
arrest – (of the police) taking someone to a police station because they are believed to have committed a crime การจับกุม
suspect – a person who is thought to have committed a crime ผู้ต้องสงสัย
employee – someone who is paid regularly to work for a person or an organisation ลูกจ้าง
assistant – a person who helps or supports somebody, usually in their job ผู้ช่วย
turn yourself in – to give yourself up to the police ยอมจำนน
first-hand – gained by doing something yourself, obtained directly from someone who is involved in something โดยตรง, ได้รับโดยตรงด้วยตัวเอง
obtain – to get something that you want or need, especially by going through a process that is difficult ได้มา, ได้รับ
evidence – facts statements or objects that help to prove whether or not someone has committed a crime หลักฐาน
discovery – an act or the process of finding somebody/something, or learning about something that was not known about before การค้นพบ
veterinarian – a person with a medical degree trained to take care of the health of animals สัตวแพทย์
authority – power อำนาจ
bury – to put a body into the ground (in this case an animal) ฝัง
poach – to illegally catch or kill an animal, bird, or fish on someone else’s property รุกล้ำ, บุกรุกล่าสัตว์หรือจับปลา
key – very important ที่สำคัญ
culprit – someone who has done something wrong ผู้กระทำความผิด
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