Elephants gorge on fruit buffet as curfewed farmers stand helpless

Three wild elephants feasted on fruit orchards in Trat province on Sunday (April 12) as farmers stood helplessly watching because they were locked down under curfew.

Siripat Sangkawan, owner of a durian farm in Trat, had been expecting 10,000 baht from the sale of her spiky fruit on April 20, but the crop was destroyed by the elephants. They continued their night-time rampage on other farms, stripping about a dozen mangosteen trees.

Siripat said that her husband usually scared away the elephants by throwing ping-pong bombs, but he was unable to do so any longer as he feared it might violate the curfew.

Saichon Neungnim, owner of the mangosteen farm, said that elephants had eaten or destroyed about Bt5,000 of his fruit and trees. He said the curfew had also stopped him from scaring away the three sweet-toothed elephants – meaning they would almost certainly be back again.

Bampen Prueksakit, Subdistrict headman of Sator subdistrict, explained that the renegade jumbos were well known to local farmers as they arrived in a gang of three to five, led by an aggressive male, and gorged on the fruit farms every year.

The headman said he will round up a posse to chase the elephants out of the area. If they returned, he added, he will himself would vouch for any defensive measures taken by local villagers under curfew.