Wild jumbo injured in crash with pickup (Thailand)


Bangkok Post

Date Published
Salak Phra wildlife sanctuary officials inspect the area where a wild bull elephant was hit by a pickup truck while crossing the road on Saturday night. The jumbo attacked the vehicle, injuring four people inside. (Photo by Piyarach Chongcharoen)

A wild bull elephant is believed to have sustained minor injuries after being hit by a pickup truck and attacking the four people in it in Kanchanaburi’s Muang district, a senior forestry official said on Sunday. The elephant ran back into the forest.
The Sidor bull elephant, known for its short tusks, was crossing Highway No.323 between kilometre markers 32 and 33 at Tha Manao village in tambon Wang Dong when it was hit by the pickup truck on Saturday night.
A team of forestry officials this morning searched for the elephant in areas near the crash scene and found no traces of blood.
Wisanti Jaenkarnkhai, 34, the driver of another pickup truck who witnessed the attack, said he was travelling along the road when the jumbo suddenly crossed the area. He immediately swerved to avoid hitting the animal.
He then saw a pickup truck coming from the opposite direction. He flashed his lights to warn the pickup truck about the elephant, but failed. The pickup truck then hit the jumbo, said Mr Wisanti.
Paithoon Inthabut, chief of Salak Phra wildlife sanctuary, said the elephant might have been frightened after being hit on one of its rear legs. This would have caused it to turn back and attack the vehicle. The elephant used its front feet to stomp on the hood, causing severe damage to the pickup truck. Four people on board were injured and sent to hospital.
Forestry officials rushed to the scene after learning about the incident and found the elephant had walked into a nearby sugarcane plantation. They did not get close to the jumbo as they feared it might be stressed after the crash, said Mr Paithoon.
The search continued Sunday morning and they found only traces of the elephant’s footsteps and excrement left along the route to the forest. An electric fence near the route had been damaged.
The search team found no traces of bloodstains along the route, suggesting the elephant might have been only slightly hurt by the crash, the Salak Phra wildlife sanctuary chief said.
The wildlife sanctuary covers 530,000 rai of land and is home to about 270 wild elephants.
He said electric fences and barriers have been set up near a community zone to prevent elephants from roaming residents’ crop plantations. Night patrol teams, comprising eight members each, take turns to prevent elephants from leaving the forest areas.
He urged motorists using Lad Ya-Srisawat road to drive with care, particularly at night to prevent a recurrence of Saturday’s crash.