Eastern ThailandEnvironment

Desperate elephants flee massive forest fires in eastern Thailand

Elephants flee forest fires, photo by Naewna.

Desperate wild elephants are fleeing massive forest fires in Thailand’s eastern Trat province. The fires have destroyed more than 2,500 rai of forests since February 26, and the poor creatures are trying to escape.

A herd of 13 elephants in the Klong Kaew Waterfall National Park have started moving out, Naewna reported yesterday. Rangers flew a drone which spotted the herd trumpeting as they walked down a rural road towards the national park base.

Two other herds of elephants were also spotted leaving the national park at different points. One herd of 12 elephants moved to the Nong Bon sub-district in the Bo Rai district. Another herd was heard, though not seen, playing on an island in the middle of Khlong Sano Reservoir in the Nonsee sub-district. The elephants reportedly have not caused any damage there.

Trat Governor Chamnanwit Teera said the situation is worrying as there are landmines in the area. The wild elephant unit of the Klong Kaew Waterfall National Park is monitoring the situation closely.

The head of the park’s wild elephant problem-solving unit, Pasawat Chotiwatphongchai, said that the fires had been raging for several days, prompting the elephants to flee.

Forest fires are a common problem in Thailand during the dry season, with many of them being caused by human activity. The Thai government has launched various initiatives to help combat the problem, including providing resources to local authorities and educating the public about the importance of forest conservation.

Last month, forest fires in Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province were so bad that several airlines rescheduled flights at the airport there. The province’s main city district was covered in dense smoke, where the fires were clustered, especially in the mountains west of Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu. Forest fires had broken out in 800 locations across Mae Hong Son this year, with 250 in the Pai district alone.

Desperate elephants flee massive forest fires in eastern Thailand | News by Thaiger

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.