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The Elephant Story 026: Elephants vs Khao Yai Traffic

December 29, 2015


Recently, on Thai television there was a news account on elephants attacking cars on a two-lane highway that intersects the Khao Yai elephant sanctuary. The film clip illustrates the question of a shrinking world of natural habitats in light of population growth and property development. The Khao Yai Thai national park is located 260 kilometers east of Bangkok in a cooler mountainous setting. Therefore, the surrounding area has been the focus of property developers building vacation homes for Bangkok residents.

Occasionally elephants in the wild find traffic and nosy people in cars to be a nuisance and the bull elephants will attack and even destroy the cars. Nonetheless, people are curious to see and photograph the elephants thereby adding to the antagonism of the elephants.

As elephants can destroy most any fence built, the hope is more natural barriers, such as plants elephants find offensive, can be discovered that would help keep them inside the otherwise natural habitat. Josh Plotnik, the foremost elephant behavioral psychologist and founder of Think Elephants International has been conducting research of herbal barriers that might be effective.

In the meantime, as the video below illustrates, the automobile body repair shops in the Khao Yai area will be doing a booming business.