Safety worries as wild elephants steal from trucks (Thailand)


Wimon Tabkong, The Nation

Date Published

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Aggressive wild elephants are robbing fruit trucks and raising safety concerns in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Hua Hin district.

Several people have recounted scary moments when giant pachyderms have come so close to them that they have been afraid they may cause physical harm.

Suwan Kaewpontrang, a pineapple agent, said: “Two nights ago, a big elephant with tusks cut in front of my truck and blocked my way. Then, it used its trunk to grasp pineapples into its mouth.”

He said the giant pachyderm knocked a wing mirror off and dented his six-wheeled truck.

“I was very frightened. My wife and our son were inside the truck. We were on our way to deliver about nine tons of pineapple to a plant,” Suwan said.

He said they could not call for help because the cell-phone signal was dead.

Fortunately, a police car drove past the incident and helped alert officials of the Kaeng Krachan National Park who rescued the family.

“We were stuck with the unpredictable and aggressive-looking elephant for some 45 minutes,” he said.

He said he had heard that wild elephants had robbed fruit trucks not just at night but also during the day.

“Cars can move past the road through forest zones without any problem. But fruit trucks along this road are at risk. Wild elephants have lately ambushed them to get fruit or other agricultural crops,” he said.

He said his friends had also faced similar incidents.

Sornkwan Utaitham, a local resident in Hua Hin district, said she saw a big wild elephant blocking a pickup truck and stealing fruit from its cargo bed on Monday afternoon.

“I took a picture of what happened and shared it on social media to alert people about elephant threats. I can’t help feeling elephants are getting more aggressive,” she said.