Hungry Elephants Are Destroying More and More Plantations in Thailand due to Climate Change
What would you do if you found giants raiding your garden? A herd of elephants feasting on bananas and potatoes that you were looking forward to harvesting?
Like Chamras Sroichampa, there must be nothing much you can do but simply watch from a safe hiding place and report the matter to wildlife authorities when the danger has passed.
This particular incident occurred in Nong Pradu village in the Prachin Buri district of Thailand, as reported by Bangkok Post. A herd of elephants ventured into the village in search of food, just after midnight. The villagers believed that the animals came from the Khao Ang Rue Nai Wildlife Sanctuary, which lies close to their settlement.
This human-elephant conflict in Thailand has been going on for years, worsening in recent times due to the effects of climate change, along with habitat destruction and fragmentation. In a study of this particular problem in western Thailand, 54.3% of plantation owners who participated in the survey revealed that their plantations are raided by elephants every day, with 95.7% admitting that they have experienced an elephant raid at least once a month.
In order to deter elephants, most plantation owners have resorted to using firecrackers, which they claimed to be the most effective method. Less than 50% of these survey respondents used electric fencing, while others utilize fire, flashlights, shouts, cars, and dogs to drive away the giant animals that have been causing destruction to their crops and properties.
But, with more severe droughts hitting Thailand, these problems with elephant raids may just further worsen. In the aforementioned study, the majority of plantation owners want elephants to be eradicated. In other countries, like Sumatra and India, farmers killed 60 elephants to retaliate.
In Sri Lanka, where the highest density of elephants in Asia could be found before, populations have declined to over 50% in the past years. But desperation among these giant pachyderms has made them bold enough to fight for survival, resulting in more deaths between humans and elephants. It’s so sad because elephants in Sri Lanka, just like in Thailand, were once an important part of the country’s culture and pride.
Conservationists have been zealous in seeking co-existence between humans and elephants. But with climate change further aggravating the problem, the situation in Thailand and other regions with similar human-wildlife conflicts can be very, very challenging.Whizzco