Villagers in a Prachin Buri community awoke to the sounds of wild elephants knocking on their doors and rooting in their gardens early on Saturday, likely due to hunger.
Residents of Nong Pradu Moo 7 village reported that some elephants from the Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary in the neighbouring province of Chachoengsao had found their way into their community and “knocked” on the doors of three homes between 1am and 2am.
They said the elephants were likely searching for food as there have been recent reports of the animals crossing into Prachin Buri forests to find sustenance after their sanctuary was hit by drought.
The large mammals remained in the village for several hours, according to the residents who said they were too terrified to leave their homes.
58-year-old resident Chamras Sroichampa said he was alerted to the elephants by his barking dog around 1am. Looking out his window, he saw a large creature in the darkness feeding from his banana trees. Inspecting his garden after the pachyderms moved on, he found they had eaten a considerable number of bananas and potatoes.
Two more residents reported similar experiences, with the elephants looking for food in their gardens.
Village elders have cautioned the residents against venturing too far from their homes, as trackers have been dispatched to locate the elephants.
The permanent secretary for Prachin Buri, Tassanai Suthapoj, has been tasked with heading a committee to consider declaring an emergency assistance zone in accordance with Ministry of Finance regulations to direct compensation to the affected villagers.