Jumbo pair dodges waterfall death trap

Jumbo pair dodges waterfall death trap

A park ranger tries to encourage a stray elephant to return to the forest in Khao Yai National Park in Prachin Buri. photos by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul
A park ranger tries to encourage a stray elephant to return to the forest in Khao Yai National Park in Prachin Buri. photos by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul

Two of the eight wild elephants found in jeopardy in Haew Narok Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park early on Saturday managed to pull themselves out and returned to the forest yesterday morning, according to the park officials.

The waterfall is located in the Pak Phli district of Nakhon Nayok which is part of the national park covering 11 districts in four provinces -- Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachin Buri, Nakhon Nayok and Saraburi.

The elephants, a mother and her calf, had been swimming in the waterfall before they came to one side of the bank and lifted themselves out of the water. A team from the national park office followed the two elephants to ensure they returned safely to the forest.

At the same time, the team was tracking the dead bodies of six other elephants in the herd which died as a result of falling from the top of the waterfall.

The bodies were washed away downstream. However, the team is seeking ways to keep them from reaching the Khun Dan Prakan Chon dam in Nakhon Nayok for fear of water contamination, said Wichai Phonlisaengsuwan, head of the section of the national park at the Protected Area Regional Office 1 in Prachin Buri.

It might take at least five more days before the elephants' bodies float down to the dam. The team is planning to remove the bodies from the water and the operation could begin soon, said a team responsible for recovery.

Mr Wichai said the team will try to capture the bodies with large nets. The plan is to dissect the bodies with heavy equipment so it is easier to pluck them out of the water.

The bodies will then be buried properly to prevent the rotten carcasses from infecting the area, he said.


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