Pickup driver faces 100,000 baht fine for angering elephant

Photo via สัตว์ป่าเขาใหญ่

An impatient pickup driver faces a fine of up to 100,000 baht after annoying a wild elephant while driving in the Khao Yai National Park in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima or Korat.

Last Friday, November 5, the Facebook page and YouTube channel, “Wild Animals at Khao Yai (สัตว์ป่าเขาใหญ่)” posted a video of a pickup car provoking a wild elephant on the road at Khao Yai National Park.

The video shows the pickup driving toward the elephant, instead of remaining parked until the animal passed as cars are recommended to do. The pickup driver’s actions startled the elephant which made the animal trumpet.

The pickup then drove past the elephant, stopped, and the driver got out and opened the car door to take a video of the animal. The driver of the vehicle then went on his way after he was satisfied with his pictures and video.

Thai netizens made their feelings known that they were not happy with the driver’s behaviour.

Many people condemned the pickup driver for his provocative action. Some also criticised the driver for breaking traffic laws. The car exhaust was too loud and released black smoke. Some people, somewhat harshly, wished the elephant had attacked the vehicle.

The Head of Khao Yai National Park, Chaiya Huayhongthong, revealed that the driver’s actions broke Section 20 of the National Park Act: visitors in the national park must follow the orders and recommendations of rangers. Chaiya said the penalty was a fine of up to 100,000 baht.

According to a report on Channel 7, the pickup driver had already surrendered himself to the police and paid the fine. The amount of the fine has not been reported.

Chaiya warned other visitors not to take this kind of action when facing an elephant or any other wildlife in the park. Chaiya recommended drivers keep at least 30 meters away from an animal, avoid honking or creating noise, turn the lights off, move backwards slowly, and not try to chase the animal away.

Chaiya added that people can guess the elephant’s emotion by looking at its ears and tail. If its ears are flapping and the tail is held out stiffly, this means the elephant is not in a good mood.

Northern Thailand News

Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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