Planter leaves plot of sugarcane to feed wild elephants

Planter leaves plot of sugarcane to feed wild elephants

A planter in Soeng Sang district, Nakhon Ratchsima, shows a plot of sugarcane damaged by wild elephants. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)
A planter in Soeng Sang district, Nakhon Ratchsima, shows a plot of sugarcane damaged by wild elephants. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: A planter in Soeng Sang district of this northeastern province has decided to leave his 12-rai plot of sugarcane for wild elephants to feed on, after the sweet-toothed pachyderms from nearby Thap Lan National Park ravaged his plantation night after night.

Seeho Uthokyotha, chairman of the Wild Elephants Conservation Group of Soeng Sang district, said on Sunday the planter, a villager from of Sap Charoen village in tambon Ban Rat, had given up trying to protect his crop.  More than half his crop had been eaten, Mr Seeho said, despite the deployment of all available protective devices, and the remaining sugarcane wasn't worth harvesting.  

Mr Seeho said there are many factors which cause wild elephants to foray out of Thap Lan National Park - not least the jumbos' taste for crops such as sugarcane, corn and cassava, which are grown in plantations near the national park.  Moreover, the population of wild elephant in the park has continued to increase. 

The problem of wild elephants invading plantations has existed for decades, he added. But villagers do not want to get rid of the elephants as they are regarded as the country's property. Instead, the problem has been tackled by setting up wild elephant conservation funds, inventing devices to drive them back into the jungle and campaigning for the villagers to grow other crops.

State agencies should do more to solve the problem, he said. 

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