Surin elephants suffer from drought

Surin authorities have declared a drought emergency in 16 of the 17 districts, warning that over 200 elephants at a conservation centre are at risk because of the severe water shortage.

An elephant buffet was held at an annual elephant round-up fair in Surin province in 2010. (Photo by Nopparat Kingkaew)

Thirapol Homhuan, a mahout at the Elephant Conservation Centre, said on Thursday that water is becoming more scarce. He called on state agencies to help out quickly as more than 250 elephants in the centre could die from water shortage soon.

"The groundwater supply at the centre is now inadequate.  Elephants need a large amount of water every day to drink and to cool down in this heat," Mr Thirapol said.

He said the situation was more severe than last year. A new dam being constructed in Chumpol district had caused the level of the Mun River to fall even further.

Ma Sala-ngam, another mahout in Surin, said it was difficult to find water sources for the elephants in the area. They had to travel two to three kilometres a day to get to a water source.

Some mahouts had to ask for drinking water from nearby temples, he said.

A nine-rai pond in Surin's Tha Tum district is totally dried up on Thursday. (Photos by Nopparat Kingkaew)

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