DNP to offer safari tour at Huai Kha Khaeng reserve

Environmental activists mark the 29th anniversary of the death of renowned conservationist Seub Nakhasathien at Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Uthai Thani on Saturday. (Photo by Watcharawit Phudork)

The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) is planning to launch a safari tour at Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in Uthai Thani.

The plan was announced at an event commemorating the 29th anniversary of Seub Nakhasathien's death, held on Sunday at the wildlife sanctuary.

Seub Nakhasathien was a renowned conservationist and former chief of Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary.

He took his own life 29 years ago in his home on the grounds of the sanctuary, reportedly because of his frustration with bureaucracy and his workload.

The event on Sunday was attended by Minister of Resources and the Environment, Varawut Silpa-archa.

DNP spokesman Sompoch Maneerat, said the department has asked Kasetsart University's Faculty of Forestry to carry out a feasibility study of the safari trail.

"The study will be funded by the United Nations Development Programme," he said.

The development of the safari trail is expected to cost around 100 million baht.

The safari zone will not be located within the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, which is listed as a Unesco World Heritage site.

Instead, the safari zone will be located on 15,000 rai land of buffer forest, where local communities live.

Nantachai Pongpattananurak, of Kasetsart University, said the safari zone as proposed will offer driving tours, and feature a canopy walkway -- which requires the construction of 3-kilometre trail above the treeline -- and a hotel complete with food and craft shops, which will be managed by local villagers living in nearby communities.

Some 20 patrol teams have been assigned to safeguard the Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary from poachers as part of conservation efforts.