Wild elephants have village on edge for half a year

Wild elephants have village on edge for half a year

Wild elephants forage for food in fields in Thong Pha Phum district, Kanchanaburi, on Sunday. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)
Wild elephants forage for food in fields in Thong Pha Phum district, Kanchanaburi, on Sunday. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)

About 60 wild elephants have been eating crops from farms and villagers' kitchens in Thong Pha Phum district of Kanchanaburi province for about six months and authorities are unable to scare them away.

Noppadol Duangjan, head of Ban Tha Madua village in Huai Khayeng sub-district of Thong Pha Phum, said on Sunday that in the past six months the local residents had barely been able to sleep or were woken up in fright almost every night because about 60 wild elephants wandered into their village to forage for food.

The pachyderms were from a nearby local forest plantation which is under the Forest Industry Organisation, Thong Pha Phum National Park and Khao Laem National Park, he said.

The wild animals ate cassava, rice, turmeric plants and corn from the fields, as well as papayas in people's gardens and even reached out with their trunks for food in kitchens. They were also feeding in rubber plantations and felling rubber trees.

The elephants arrived in the evening and roamed his village until the morning, stopping villagers from reaping crops and rubber latex and depriving them of much-needed sleep, Mr Noppadol said.

Border patrol police, soldiers, district administrators and national park rangers had tried to help by using firecrackers but to no avail because the wild elephants did not seem to be afraid of humans, Mr Noppadol said.

Some of the elephants ran away at the sound of the explosions of firecrackers, but they would shortly return and damage crops again, he said.

The situation was seriously affecting local residents because they had no other jobs, Mr Noppadol said.

A villager and security officers inspect a damaged plantation in Thong Pha Phum district, Kanchanaburi, on Sunday. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)



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