UTHAI THANI: The Huay Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary has been hit by drought as a result of El Nino, causing elephants and other wild animals to stray into adjacent areas to forage for food, an official said.
Tonsak Nipanan, chief of the Huay Kha Khaeng wildlife breeding station, said some of the wildlife have intruded into the station area while others strayed elsewhere.
The Huay Kha Khaeng wildlife breeding station is located in an area of nearly 2,000 rai in the Huay Salao and Huay Khok Khwai forests in tambon Rabam of Lansak district, Uthai Thani province, on the fringe of the Huay Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary.
Mr Tonsak said on Aug 13 a villager was stomped to death by a wild elephant in an area being prepared for the expansion of the Huay Kha Haeng Wildlife Santuary, which encompasses parts of Uthai Thani, Kanchanaburi and Tak provinces.
Therefore, hikers should watch out for possible danger from wild animals while in the vicinity of Huay Kha Khaeng, he said.
Mr Tonsak said the wildlife breeding station under his supervision is less affected by drought as it has three reservoirs covering 17, 7 and 3 rai of land each to retain water for animals.
To protect the breeding station from being intruded upon by wildlife from the sanctuary, a 12-kilometre-long fence has been built along one section of its border, but this is not enough to effectively contain animals, especially wild elephants.
Mr Tonsak said there are now about 400 wild animals – mostly hog deer and eld's deer – at the station, which plans to release some of them into the Huay Salao and Huay Thap Rabam no-hunting zones to promote nature tourism.
The station is also rearing 11 tigers and seven leopards brought from elsewhere while they were young.
The Huay Kha Khaeng wildlife breeding station is open daily from 8.30am to 4.30pm for nature and wildlife studies. The opening time may be adjusted for safety because there are now some wild elephants roaming nearby, he added.