Officials at Khao Yai National Park have been forced to change the opening hours of the park after several incidents of elephants attacking cars in the last few months.
The closing time of the park for tourists has been changed from 9pm to 6pm. Officials hope the new hours will reduce encounters between tourists and elephants who often come out to feed along the road.
Wildlife experts attribute the attacks to the increased aggressiveness of bull elephants during mating season, food shortages in the forest, and disturbances to the environment caused by the increasing number of tourists visiting the park, according to KhaosodEnglish.
The number of elephant vs tourist showdowns in January alone was cause for concern — a horny bull elephant attacked a Toyota Vios and mounted its hood, an elephant destroyed a park-operated restaurant, and a bull elephant took an instant disliking to a driver honking his horn.
Chukiat Ratchasit, the head of the Association of Khao Yai Natural and Environment Reserve, said he agrees with the new hours, as they will also lessen tourists’ impact on the natural environment.
“What should be done urgently is to encourage all travel agents, tourists, visitors, and hikers to obey the rules and regulation and the new passing time imposed by the national park,” he said.
Photo: Wildlife Friends Foundation
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