Cabinet approves 435 million baht to control hungry elephants, monkeys


The Covid-19 crisis hasn’t just affected humans and businesses; it’s had a profound impact on Thailand’s wildlife- much of which was dependent on tourism for survival. As a result, the Cabinet on Tuesday approved a budget of 435.3 million baht to reduce the impacts of wildlife on people. The budget was requested by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

As elephant camps and “sanctuaries” in Chiang Mai and across Thailand’s North closed back in May, hundreds of elephants were forced to return to their birthplaces to avoid starvation, straining resources and local economies, which were ill-equippped to receive them. More than ¾ of the budget – 360.6 million baht – will be spent protecting residents and farmers from wild elephants, according to the deputy government spokeswoman. The funds will be used to restore the animals’ natural food sources and build fences to protect locals and their farms.

Another 24.5 million baht will be used to tackle problems caused by monkeys, including sterilisation, a database of monkeys and cages to limit the areas they can roam. The move comes after gangs of monkeys in the central city of Lopburi ran amok during the Covid-19 lockdown, when they were deprived of their main food source: tourism.

The remaining budget will be invested to improve the capacity of government agencies to receive and take care of animals, including those seized in criminal cases. New animal clinics will be constructed, while standardised tools will be prepared for officials, the spokeswoman explained.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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