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Employing cruelty to keep wild elephants from farms, watering hole


Rangers from Loei’s Phu Luang Wildlife Sanctuary found more than 100 traps placed around a natural well in an area dubbed Dan Chang or elephants’ path in Phu Rua district on the edge of the sanctuary.

“The traps are made from round pieces of wood less than half a metre in width with five or six nails sticking out of each,” Jirachai Akhajak, chief of the Phu Luang Wildlife Research Centre, said on Saturday. “Park officials have picked up around 100 traps since earlier this week. Some of them have evidence of being stepped upon, but so far we have not found any injured wild elephants.

“I suspect farmers nearby may have set these traps to keep wild elephants from ransacking their sugarcane plantations,” he added. “The department has discussed this issue with local farmers on several occasions. We have even advised them to keep bees or grow chilli as elephants hate bees and the smell of chilli and will eventually leave the plantation alone.

Employing cruelty to keep wild elephants from farms, watering hole

“Though most farmers understand the nature of wild animals and agreed to use harmless methods to repel them, some still apparently resort to cruelty and violence,” Jirachai said. “The department has filed a police complaint against the trap setters.”

Employing cruelty to keep wild elephants from farms, watering hole

Phet Manopawit, secretary-general of Green World Foundation, said these traps are inhumane and can kill an elephant.

“When an elephant steps on the trap, the nails will pierce its foot, forcing it to back off and change the course it takes to find food,” he said. “However, since the nails are rusty, the elephant can develop an infection or tetanus and if left untreated, it could die.”

Published : January 22, 2022

By : THE NATION