Ten wild elephants from the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary in Mondulkiri province’s Sen Monorom commune destroyed villagers’ farmlands, while another 15 families were reported to have their fruit trees smashed by them on Sunday night.
Khum Vannak, a police officer in O’Raing district, said the elephants were mostly out of the forest at night and were hard to control.
“The elephants come out at night and return home in the morning. They destroyed the banana trees and cashew trees of 15 families,” he said. “They are wild elephants who live in their own shelter in the forest.”
“We have reported it to environmental officers and relevant forces to chase them away because the elephants could be dangerous,” he added.
Sen Monorom commune police chief Sou Sunheng said the elephants destroy anything along their aimless journey.
“It is possible there are more than ten elephants,” he said. “They keep moving from place to place. Environmental workers seem not to care about these elephants in the Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary and only advised people to frighten them away with firecrackers.”
“If we shoot them, we are wrong,” he added. “We don’t know how much exactly the damage is because these elephants will trample everything they come across. If they see banana trees, they will eat them all.”
Laing Sovolak, manager at Mondulkiri Elephant and Wildlife Sanctuary which houses domesticated elephants from villagers for preservation in Sen Monorom commune, said the wild elephants can be dangerous because they are protective.
“Normally, the wild elephants are usually afraid of people and when they see people, they might trample them as they are not familiar with human beings,” he said. “People are also afraid to get into the forest where they roam wild.”