Villagers in western Thailand’s Kanchanaburi province have called for help after their farms were pillaged by wild elephants, leaving considerable damage to their crops. Somkhuan Thongpraneet, of Moo 3 village, said the raids had continued for several months.
The latest attack took place on Saturday night, Mr Somkhuan said, when about 60 wild elephants appeared out of the darkness and rampaged across his farmland in search of food, bringing down trees and trampling crops.
Another 40 elephants showed up on Sunday morning and caused more damage.
Mr Somkhuan called on the provincial governor and relevant government agencies to coordinate with the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department on measures to help the villagers.
Last month patrol teams were set up to keep a close watch on the movement of a herd of wild elephants crossing the Kwai Noi River to forage for food on farms in Thong Pha Phum district in Kanchanaburi, Thailand. Furthermore motorists using Highway 323 were warned to watch out for the wild elephants on the road.
Combined teams of Thong Pha Phum National Park officials, police and local residents, numbering more than 40, conducted patrols on Highway 323 along Kanchanaburi-Thong Pha Phum route to alert motorists using the road to watch out for wild elephants crossing the road.
Wild Elephant foraging for food
Arthit Somboon, assistant village chief of Ban Ong-ti village, said a herd of more than 20 wild elephants was spotted walking across the Kwai Noi River to forage for food on farms.
The herd, made up with bull and female elephants and babies, was led by Chao Nga and Chao Happy, said Mr Arthit. The two jumbos led the herd to eat bananas, coconuts and cassava grown by local residents. More than 20 rai of farmlands had been destroyed.
Local residents were gripped by fear as the elephants emerged from the jungle to raid farmland. Some residents did not go to their rubber plantations to tap rubber latex for fear of possible elephant attacks, said a source.
The local people called on authorities to seriously address the problem by pushing wild elephants into the forests. There were about 20-30 baby elephants born a year. Now, the population of elephants in Thong Pha Phum district rose to over 300, added the source.