Villagers had enough of jumbo raids

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN - Fruit farmers are preparing to take their own action to scare off marauding elephants after complaining that the authorities are not doing enough.

Villagers at tambon Huay Sat Yai in Hua Hin district said more than 50 wild elephants had come down from the Kaeng Krachan National Park and damaged their orchards over the past month with bananas, mangos, jackfruits and durians being their target.

Watchara Khamphorn, the Moo 5 village chief, said the elephants had also damaged two houses in the village.

Moo 5 and Moo 1 were hard hit as the two villages were on the edge of the tambon and the park, he added.

The animals had changed their behaviour from roaming for food in the forest to eating fruits after villagers were forced to dumped produce in the orchards due to low prices, the village chief said. The fruits became their favourite, he added.

Many villagers are considering changing from fruit farming to cows because of the elephant raids, he said.

Chin Charoensup, a Moo 5 villager, said he and other villagers had to stay alert at night to scare off the elephants but were unable to do so all all the time.

Sunantha Phimthai, chief of the Huay Sat Yai Tambon Administration Organisation, said almost 2,000 rai of plantations in the area had been damaged.

The local agency planned to hold a pha-pa robe-giving ceremony to mobilise funds to build a 40-kilometre-long concrete wall to block the elephants from entering the tambon.

The plan was mooted after the office had waited in vain for help from government agencies, she added.

Now villagers had to help themselves until the wall is erected.

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