Tourists warned of aggressive elephants at Khao Yai National Park (Thailand)


Watcharachai Klaipon, The Nation

Date Published

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Security has been increased for tourists at Khao Yai National Park to safeguard them from wild elephants, as several aggressive male bulls are in heat for mating.

Park official Somchat Saeli, said on Friday that Plai Junior, a 20-30 year old male elephant that is in heat has roamed out of forest for three days now, and has been seen wandering around Thung Pong Kwang meadow near Sai Sorn reservorr in Nakhon Ratchasima’s Pak Chong district.

Park officials have been patrolling the road that cuts through the park in Prachin Buri and Nakhon Ratchasima to look for wild elephants and advise tourists on how to observe the wildlife safely.

Somchat said park officials have put up warning signs in Thai and English to advise tourists what to do if they encounter a wild elephant while driving. They should stop their car at least 300 metres away from the elephant and, if the animal moves towards them, they should slowly reverse the vehicle and pull over at a safe distance until the elephant goes away.

He said visitors must not use flash photography to take pictures, must not use the car horn or make any loud noises to spook the animal and they must keep the car engine running at all times.

If visitors encounter an elephant after dark, the driver must use low headlights, he said. If they find themselves surrounded by elephants, they must remain calm and try to find a route with fewer animals blocking their path and leave as fast as possible.

“You can observe the elephant’s mood easily. If it is in a good mood, it will shake its ears and its tail. If it is in a bad mood, its ears will not shake, its tail will point upward and its trunk will look stiff and still,” he said.