It’s a hard life for fruit farmers living close to a wildlife conservation area in Kui Buri district in Prauchap Khiri Khan, where they have to adapt to the frequent raids by wild elephants, which can quickly strip their crop bare.
Amnat Permpoon has hastened to hire help harvesting the ripening pineapples at his farm at Ban Yan Sue, tambon Haad Kham, after three wild elephants came out of Kui Buri National Park to feast on the succulent fruit on five consecutive nights.
The fruit in his 10 Rai orchard is beginning to ripen and the beasts are attracted by the sweet smell, he said. Pineapples don’t get any sweeter after they are picked so must be left to ripen on the plant, which leaves a very small gate between harvesting them and losing them to elephants. Amnat has 30 Rai close to the park but grows his pineapples on only 10 Rai, which he says produce around 30 tons of fruit annually, leaving the rest of the farm unplanted for good reason.
“I am afraid that I cannot take care of anymore and fend off the wild elephants,” he said. Tambon Haad Kham is one of the several areas adjacent to the park frequently raided by the animals. The problem was spotlighted last week when a 20-year-old male elephant was found dead with rifle and shotgun wounds to the body. Police and local residents suspect angry farmers inflicted the wounds, but they are uncertain whether the animal was actually killed in the area, or shot elsewhere and made its way to the tambon before succumbing to the injuries. The investigation continues. –