Thai elephant on rampage to border

Ros Chanveasna / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
A caregiver washes a rescue elephant. A Thai elephant meanwhile escaped its enclosure and damaged several farms on the border, prompting Thai authorities to issue a warning. KT/Mai Vireak

Thai authorities yesterday alerted their Cambodian counterparts that a rampaging elephant was heading toward the border with Battambang province.

The alert came after the six-tonne elephant broke loose from an electric fence enclosure for behaviour-adjustment in a forest conservation project area in Thailand’s Sa Kaeo province.

Lieutenant Colonel Pich Saren, Sampov Loun district police chief, said authorities were informed that the wild animal was heading towards Cambodia after it broke away from its enclosure and damaged Thai farms along the border.

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“We received information from Thai soldiers saying that the elephant had gone rogue and was believed to have strayed towards Cambodia,” he said.

Lt Col Saren added that local authorities warned people living along the border to be mindful of their safety following the alert.

“We told people to contact authorities straight away if they see it,” he said.

About 100 Thai officers with 10 tractors were dispatched to block the elephant’s route near the border and encourage it to return to the wildlife sanctuary, according to a report in Thai media.

Thai authorities reported that the wild animal previously attacked Thai residents and destroyed Thai farms.

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“If the pachyderm crossed into Cambodia, it would be regarded as a wild animal of that country,” Manote Rattanatrai, an elephant lookout team chief at Khao Soi Dao wildlife sanctuary in Thailand, said to Thai media.

On Tuesday, a baby elephant was found dead in Ratanakkiri province, and its carcass was brought back to Phnom Penh for scientific examination.

Asian elephants are listed as globally endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List.

The global population has been declining, and there are about 250 to 500 left in Cambodia.

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