Trail marks Swiss-Thai relations

Trail marks Swiss-Thai relations

Park gains 'sister' status to glacier

Swiss embassy officials take photos with Khao Yai National Park staff on the Swiss-Thai Friendship Trail at the park in Nakhon Ratchasima province. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
Swiss embassy officials take photos with Khao Yai National Park staff on the Swiss-Thai Friendship Trail at the park in Nakhon Ratchasima province. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment is marking 90 years of cooperation between Thailand and Switzerland by launching a project to improve natural hiking trails in Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima.

The ministry's senior officials accompanied the Swiss ambassador to Thailand, Helene Budliger Artieda, to the launch of the Swiss-Thai Friendship Trail in the national park. They said it marked a new chapter in bilateral cooperation on wildlife protection and natural resources management.

The trail was developed with the support of a number of Swiss companies, including Nestle (Thai) Lrd and the Dow Thailand group.

Ms Artieda said Khao Yai National Park has been named a "sister park" to the Jungfrau Aletsch glacier in Switzerland, to better ensure the sharing of information and resources between Thai and Swiss national park authorities.

In the future, study trips will be arranged to allow authorities from both nations to share their best practices with each other.

"We selected Khao Yai National Park as the site to mark Thai-Swiss relations because hiking is a typical activity in Switzerland," she said. "Khao Yai is home to a diverse array of wildlife, which people should explore especially during the Covid-19 pandemic."

She said conserving wildlife for future generations isn't an easy task, but with cooperation from all stakeholders concerned, it could bring the world closer together as partners in protecting the nature.

The newly-improved trail contains information for visitors wishing to learn about the park's many habitats and abundant wildlife, the highlights of which are showcased in an exhibit at Nong Pak Chi observation tower.

Thanya Nethithammakul, chief of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said the trail, which cuts through a tropical forest system, will be further developed into an outdoor classroom.

Swiss-Thai relations were officially established in 1931 under a Treaty of Friendship and Commerce. But, records suggest that people-to-people relations may have been forged as early as the 17th century, when Swiss missionaries visited the Kingdom of Siam.

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