Set in the backdrop of the lush durian orchards of Moo 9 village, nestled in the seamless transition between urban sprawl and the wild greens of Tai Rom Yen National Park, is a heart-wrenching incident of two elephants losing their lives in the wake of human encroachment. This incident occurred in the quaint village situated in the Kanchanadit district, belonging to the vast province of Surat Thani, Thailand.
Two innocent wild elephants were fatally electrocuted by a live wire firmly placed to protect the durian fruits that lay abundant in a local plantation. The owner of the plantation was a woman known as Suwannee, who is now facing charges for violating the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act enacted in 2018.
The alarm bells for this tragic incident were sounded by attentive local residents, who reported the sight of two immobile elephants to Chaiyaporn Chaiyos, the park’s chief officer. Responding to the call to action a team of local leaders, veterinarians, and Chaiyaporn himself raced towards the gloomy scene.
Lying motionless on a laterite road flanking the durian plantation, were the bodies of the deceased elephants. An older elephant aged roughly 30-35 years, and a younger companion aged approximately between 20 and 25. The older elephant had a severe burn wound marking its trunk, an unfortunate testament to the brutal circumstances of its demise.
As per the account of the park officials, the elder elephant got fatally electrocuted upon coming in contact with the wire, subsequently falling to the ground. The younger elephant, presumably in an effort to come to its companion’s aid, met the same tragic fate. It appears that, in their last moments, the close bond shared by these majestic creatures was on full display.
The enforcement authorities subsequently discovered an electrified wire ensnaring the plantation, leading to charges being filed against the plantation owner, Suwannee. She is now facing the harsh reality of a conviction which could amount to a decade-long imprisonment or a hefty fine extending to 1 million baht, or possibly, both.
This tragic event casts light on a tendency of unpleasant encounters between humans and elephants escalating in recent years. It’s undeniably related to the growth of the elephant population juxtaposed with the shrinking of their habitats, increasingly colonised by human activities. Over the past half-decade, about half a dozen reports have surfaced of elephants being electrocuted, either due to bewildering encounters with power lines or farmer-installed electrified fences.
In conclusion, this catastrophic incident serves as a distressing reminder of the jumbo-sized issue at hand that cries out for immediate attention and remedial solutions.