Concern over worsening wild elephant behaviour after durian farm raided (Thailand)


Wimon Tabkong, Apichart Hongsakul, The Nation

Date Published
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Wild elephants have raided a durian plantation in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Hua Hin district, causing a local farmer more than Bt200,000 in damage.

“They ate all the durian I expected to sell on June 10,” Pratuang Numnoi, 69, said on Sunday. “Now, I won’t have money to clear my debt with the Bank for Agriculture and Cooperatives.”

The elderly farmer added that wild elephants had also uprooted four of her durian trees. 

Tambon Huai Sat Yai Administrative Organisation chief executive Sunanta Pimtai inspected the damage at Pratuang’s orchard but said her organisation could not do much to help. 

“We have received complaints about damage caused by elephants almost every single day lately. But at this point we can only provide free firecrackers to local residents so that they can scare wild elephants away,” Sunanta said. 

She added that the next step for her organisation was to submit a report to the Prachuap Khiri Khan governor and ask for help for affected people. 

“We will follow up on our request for a budget to construct solid fences between the forestland and people’s farms,” she added. 

Manu Thongyaem, the kamnan of Tambon Huai Sat Yai, said the wild elephant population near the area had been growing, especially after many elephants had migrated from a nearby area at Tambon Padeng where fences had already been erected. 

Supatra Rubnusarn, a local resident in Tambon Huai Sat Yai, said she felt the elephants’ behaviour had changed for the worse. 

“In the past, they did not enter people’s houses. But lately, they have rummaged inside. It’s as if they eat for pleasure, not due to hunger,” she said. “All of us can see these elephants are big and fat.” 

Pratuang added that wild elephants had once eaten pork that she had broiled.