The current situation with elephants from Phu Kradueng invading local communities in Loei Province highlights the conflict between elephants and humans over territory. This situation has posed significant challenges to authorities, as efforts to push elephants back into the forest must pass through villagers’ farmland, creating tension between two neighboring communities.
Phuriwat Chotenopprat, Phu Kradueng district chief, informed that currently elephants have entered the commune area and crossed the road between Highway 201 (Loei-Chum Phae). They have entered the Pha Nok Khao sub-district from the area of Phu Kradueng sub-district. There are six elephants in total, divided into two groups.
The first group consists of two elephants, at first thought to be a mother and her calf, but they are both female elephants. They have been staying near Ban Sri Raksa and moved to Pha Pa Man in Khon Kaen Province. During the night they return to Ban Sri Raksa for food.
On the morning of August 25, authorities received a report that elephants were across the street from a private mill. Given the dense population in the area, the district warned villagers, who often go into the forest to collect forest products such as bamboo shoots and mushrooms, not to enter the area. This is because authorities have observed signs of stress among the elephants, and an encounter with them could lead to aggression.
The second group of elephants consists of four male elephants. They have been staying near Ban Klong Kao village. On Friday morning, it was reported that they entered Huai Som Tai village in Pha Nok Khao sub-district.
Villagers complained to the district administration that the elephants had destroyed their banana trees and cornfields, and even knocked on the doors of houses located in the middle of rubber tree plantations. This caused panic and fear among the villagers.
Officials attempted to lead, push, and guide all six elephants across the road to return them to the Phu Kradueng forest, or more specifically, the Phu Kradueng area. However, as part of this effort, the authorities themselves have had to work to increase the understanding of the local population.
They are trying to help residents understand the complexity of the elephant herd and its impact on the villages through which the elephants pass. This is because the elephants tend to damage crops along their path before returning to the forest.
As a result, tensions have arisen between communities on both sides. The authorities are actively trying to make the local communities understand the aspect of the elephant herd.
“In anticipation of the elephants’ upcoming mating season, the four male elephants are likely to return to Huai Hinlap Forest within Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary in about two months to mate according to their natural instincts,” said Phu Kradueng district director.
Recently, a male wild elephant was found shot dead on August 17 in the forest of Ban Nam Phu, Loei Province. People who don’t like having elephants go into their farms could be the ones responsible. But the police have not yet taken anyone into custody.