< /p>In four provinces of Thailand, including the tourist Chonburi, massive problems began to arise with the Kingdom's most popular living attraction. During the coronavirus shutdown and a significant decrease in traffic, wild elephants have “mastered” wild elephants on the roads of Chonburi and in 4 other eastern provinces, including Chachoengsao, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Sa Kaeo. Animals themselves pose a threat, in addition, accidentally knocking down an elephant on the road threatens with a huge fine and even imprisonment.
According to the director of the Wildlife Conservation Authority, under the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act, drivers who knock down elephants can be jailed for up to 10 years, fined up to one million baht, or both. And regardless of whether the collision was intentional or not. And there have already been several such cases this year: in January, a pickup truck hit and killed an elephant on the Kanchanaburi highway; in February, 35 new signs “Beware of elephants!” were posted along this highway. Elephants cross this highway regularly, and signs warn drivers that the speed limit is 60 kilometers per hour and that they face jail time and fines if they hit the elephants.
Wildlife department director Phadet Lightong said the department is trying to limit the space in forested areas where elephants can live and push back elephants that go outside the designated areas, but there are too many of them. He added that there is enough food and water for the elephants in the places designated for them. He also noted that the plans include the creation of special human patrols from local residents on the elephant trails, which could warn the authorities where the elephants are moving.
At the moment, it is estimated that there may be 470-480 elephants in Thailand only in these areas. At the same time, Thailand has banned the use of elephants as pack animals, forcing their owners to look for other ways to feed the elephants – and it is possible that they are released into the wild.
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