NAKHON RATCHASIMA — Growing herds of wild elephants have been thundering down the road more frequently in Khao Yai National Park, and officials want visitors to take some precautions if they encounter one.
Park chief Kanchit Srinoppawan said Wednesday it took about an hour to chase more than 25 elephants that emerged from the forest at about 9am back into the wild. The bold pachyderms took over the road just two days after about 20 elephants decided to use it as an elephant highway, he said.
He said it’s unusual to see such a big herd on the road, and it’s still unclear why they have taken to the asphalt. He added that a special task force has been deployed in several locations across the park to monitor wild animals and keep tourists safe as the park’s peak season approaches.
Past encounters with itinerant elephants has led to injuries and smashed vehicles.
Kanchit urged visitors to be mindful of the animals and let park officials know when they find them straying from the wild.
He said visitors should stop the car at least 30 meters from any elephant they find on the street while driving. If an elephant approaches the car, they should slowly drive backward or park until the elephants depart. He said do not yell or honk the horn at them, and do not use flash to take photos.
If surrounded by a herd, Kanchit said to try and find a gap from which they can drive out very slowly. He also said if encountering them at night, turn off headlight high beams – but don’t turn them off.