Farmer feels ‘reborn’ after surviving attack by elephants (Thailand)


Bangkok Post

Date Published

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A Hua Hin cattle farmer faced death but escaped with only broken limbs when he was charged by a herd of wild elephants near Kaeng Krachan National Park. 
Surapon Sooksut, 45, left his home at Moo 5 village of Ban Chalermporn in Huay Sat Yai subdistrict late on Sunday afternoon to herd his cows back to their pen from a nearby pasture. He did not return and was reported missing by anxious relatives. 
A team of police and soldiers, along with relatives and neighbours, went looking for him. The search was halted after sunset for safety reasons because about 30 wild elephants from the Kaeng Krachan Nationa Park had been spotted roaming forested areas near the village in search of food.  
The search resumed on Monday and they found Mr Surapon about 6.30am, lying on the ground at the forest edge near his home and shouting for help.   
He had two broken arms, a broken leg and multiple bruises. Local paramedics gave him first aid and sent him to Hua-Hin Hospital. Mr Surapon said later from his hospital bed that he was looking for a missing pregnant cow at the edge of the forest. He suddenly came across several elephants browsing for food, but could not say exactly how many. The jumbos were startled by his sudden appearance, and quickly charged at him. 
“After that I felt one of them knock me down. I fell unconscious and woke up in the morning,” Mr Surapon recalled. “I tried to get up but couldn’t. My arms and my leg hurt so badly that I couldn’t move. I was screaming for help for a long time.” “To survive this near-death experience, it’s like I’ve died and been born again.”
Watchara Kamporn, head of Ban Chalermporn village, said several residents had been killed or injured by the farm-raiding elephants in the past. He demanded the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation quickly deal with the situation.   He noted that the number of the wild elephants roaming the ar