Farmers demand crop-raiding elephant's removal

farmers demand crop-raiding elephant's removal

Farmers from 10 villages in tambon Krung Ching of Nop Phitam district rally in front of the office of the Protection Unit 6 of the Khao Nan National Park, demanding the removal of a wild bull elephant that has been raiding their crops for the last seven months. (Photo: Nujaree Rakrun)

NAKHON SI THAMMARAT: About 100 farmers rallied on Tuesday demanding wildlife officials remove from their village area a wild bull elephant that has been raiding their farms non-stop for the last seven seven months, instead of just making empty promises.

They gathered in front of the office of Protection Unit 6 of Khao Nan National Park in tambon Krung Ching of Nop Phitam district.

The farmers said the wild tusker, Phlai Khai Nui, had been raiding farms in 10 villages of tambon Krung Ching for over seven months, causing considerable damage, and showed no sign of leaving.

They had repeatedly asked national park officials for help, but nothing much had been done to move the wild elephant out of the area.

Local officials, inclucing Rachit Rachpradit, the kamnan of tambon Krung Ching and Jarin Chanchum, chairman of the Krung Ching tambon administration organisation, had tried their best to keep the animal  out of their orchards and plantations, using teams of volunteers. Their efforts achieved little due to legal restraints.

The farmers said the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department had earlier announced a project to push the elephant back to Tai Rom Yen National Park in the east of Surat Thani, but little substantial action had been taken.

With no solution to the problem in sight, they gathered on Tuesday to voice their demand that  the authorities finally do something about the animal.

Chaowalit Sithirit, a group coordinator, said that since April this year Phlai Khai Muk had made their farms in tambon Krung Ching his primary source of food.

The farmers wanted immediate action for the elephant’s removal or they would rally again, this time at Protected Area Regional Office 5 in Nakhon Si Thammarat, he said.