Thai elephants turn highway robbers

Elephants in eastern Thailand have found a novel method to get around the food shortage in their area – stop sugar cane trucks and raid the produce.

The elephants are showing behavioural changes

Food is running short in the Ang Lue Nai wildlife sanctuary due to the extreme dry season and this has forced the 130 hungry elephants to ransack nearby plantations, besides the trucks, a report said on Sunday.

The sanctuary’s chief Yoo Senatham told the Bangkok Post that the elephants had gotten used to picking up sugar cane dropped by passing truck drivers who took pity on them.

However, the habit has given them ideas and now the leader of the herd routinely stands in the middle of the road to stop the trucks while the others make away with the sugar cane.

Yoo said the shortage of fodder in the jungle meant that the animals were now “just waiting for food to be dropped”, rather than looking for food. “This is dangerous,” he said.

Truck drivers have now been banned from dropping food in the hope the elephants will stop their aggressive behaviour.

Yoo said that villagers planned to build an electric fence to protect their crops and set up a mechanism so they could mobilise quickly to disperse the animals when they came on a raid.

Source: AFP