Much of the natural habitat of Thailand’s wild elephants has been destroyed
Sadly, another case of human/elephant conflict to report – this time a very tragic one which happened just a few days ago in Southern Thailand, in the Surat Thani Province, one of the areas covered by the STEF mobile clinic.
A village headman, Samnao Kraiket, who was the leader of Moo 11 village in the Tha Chana district, was tragically killed in an attack by a wild elephant. Samnao was trying to guide an elephant and her calf back into the forest after she, and a small herd of around 10 other elephants, had wandered into a palm oil plantation near the village. The elephants had begun to strip the trees in the plantation, causing a great deal of damage.
In response, Samnao had gathered together a team of volunteers to try and guide the elephants away from the plantation and back into their natural habitat. During the process, Samnao was attacked by the female elephant, causing a fractured hip, crushed ribcage and major head trauma. Sadly, he died from his injuries while in the ambulance on the way to hospital.
According to residents in this area, it is not unusual for wild elephants to invade their crops and plantations. Unfortunately, this is all too common in parts of Thailand where the natural habitat of the wild elephants has been gradually destroyed. Since the ban on logging in Thailand in 1989, there has been better control over the native forests, but the wild elephant population is dwindling, and currently stands at around only 3,000 – 3,500.