Military joins hunt for agarwood poachers in Khao Yai National Park

Photo courtesy of Thai PBS World

Faced with a surge in illegal agarwood poaching, Khao Yai National Park Chief Chaiya Huayhongtong announced a bold new strategy today: Enlisting the military’s help to protect the park’s valuable resources.

Chaiya stated that poaching has increased significantly. The culprits are believed to have entered the park from the Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima, as well as Prachin Buri and Nakhon Nayok. With the park’s vast size and limited staff, the task has become too great for park rangers alone.

In response, Chaiya is seeking assistance from the First Army Region commander. Troops from an army barracks in Prachin Buri will soon join park rangers in patrolling the park’s borders on foot, aiming to deter and apprehend agarwood poachers.

The park’s statistics paint a troubling picture. Last year, eight cases of agarwood poaching led to the arrest of 13 suspects and the seizure of 73.6 kilogrammes of agarwood chips. Additionally, eight individuals were apprehended with 15 logs of Payoong, also known as Siamese rosewood.

This year alone, three incidents of agarwood poaching have been reported. Three suspects, including one Cambodian national, were arrested, and 23 kilogrammes of agarwood chips were confiscated. Moreover, 23 other suspects were detained for illegal logging activities, resulting in the seizure of 36 Payoong logs, reported Thai PBS World.

In related news, a courageous deer, who endured multiple gunshot wounds inflicted by poachers, was relocated to a rescue centre in Hua Hin in March last year. Park rangers found the injured Sambar deer in Thailand’s Kaeng Krachan National Park. The park borders the Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan provinces.

In other news, a dramatic clash for dominance between two male elephants on May 9 left one with a broken tusk in Khao Yai National Park, Nakhon Ratchasima province. The incident occurred after Plai Khrut, the young elephant who previously made headlines for raiding a statue at Wat Mu Si and consuming all the sugar cane grown by the temple for religious ceremonies, challenged his companion Plai Yodchay.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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