TEST YOURSELF: Where the wild beasts roam

TEST YOURSELF: Where the wild beasts roam

Photo by Stephen Steele
Photo by Stephen Steele

Farmers in Prachuap Khiri Khan are learning to live with elephants

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Read the following story by Thana Boonlert from the Bangkok Post. Then, answer the questions that follow.

Thanasit Phiboonwatthanakorn points to the border of his farmland, where wild elephants often sneak in and out of the forest in search of food at night.

"They forage for pineapples over there. When farmers chase them away, they become stressed. They break my rubber trees or chomp on the leaves," he said.

Broken trees and large footprints are evidence of their nightly presence. Thanasit said locals in Ruam Thai village in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Kui Buri district hung lamps to scare the jumbos off, but elephants are no longer scared and have come back. They dug a trench but it only slowed them down. When officials set up electric fences, the elephants managed to break the poles and stepped over the fences.

"We end up guarding our farms at night and we must stay alert for strange noises and shine flashlights. Workers patrol at 2-3am every night," he said.

Thanasit noticed elephants ignored his kaffir lime trees while destroying pineapple crops.

A kaffir lime tree can survive even if elephants tread on it. He asked the other pineapple farmers to plant and sell the new crop. At that point, a wildlife charity came in to help villagers grow alternative crops to promote human-elephant coexistence.

David Owen, project manager for the Bring The Elephant Home Foundation, explains the dangers.

"Eight people were killed in Thailand as a result of human-elephant conflict last year and many more injuries were recorded. Most of these cases happened outside the protected area of Kui Buri National Park. We feel like we have to do everything possible to keep elephants there,” Owen said.

Owen, a journalist from Canada, decided to travel abroad for a year and came to Thailand. As an English teacher in Phitsanulok, Owen discovered a passion for elephants. Instead of returning to Toronto, Owen tried elephant management for a few years before arriving in the village in July last year.

Local residents divided 1.7 rai of farmland into 12 equal-size subplots. While two were for pineapples, 10 others were for galangal, turmeric, citronella, lemongrass, chilli, lime, kaffir lime and mulberry. The village's "Tom Yum project" is named after the spicy prawn soup whose ingredients are not attractive to elephants.

"It is not about getting rid of pineapples but creating social, economic and ecological resilience in communities experiencing human-elephant conflict," Owen said.

Section 1: Write the correct answer in the space provided.
1. What did locals use to scare away elephants? …………….
2. What tree’s leaves are eaten by elephants? …………….
3. How many people were killed by elephants in 2020? …………….
4. What job did Owen do in his home country? …………….
5. How much farmland did villagers use for the Tom Yum project?…………..
6. Do elephants like tom yam soup? …………….

Section 2: Read the following passage. Then, fill in the blanks with the correct words from the choices given.
Owen is testing whether these alternative plants can …7… not only elephants but also drought. Villagers are making products that they sell …8… a local shop and on a website. In two weeks, they received both orders from customers …9… in Thailand …10… overseas.

7. __A. withstand         __B. withdraw                __C. without
8. __A. via                 __B. on                   __C. by
9. __A. not even            __B. not only              __C. not from
10. __A. but only            __B. but however            __C. but also

Section 3: Find words that match the following definitions.
11. upset or worried ……………
12. to continue to live in spite of danger ……………
13. the act of living together peacefully ……………
14. a fight or disagreement …………

Answers: 1. lamps. 2. rubber trees. 3. eight. 4. journalist. 5. 1.7 rai. 6. no. 7. a. 8. a. 9. b. 10. c. 11. stressed. 12. survive. 13. coexistence. 14. conflict.

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