Meeting a Wild Elephant: Keep that Engine On

Meeting a Wild Elephant: Keep that Engine On
Meeting a Wild Elephant: Keep that Engine On

It’s not unusual to meet a wild elephant on the roads in more remote parts of Thailand. Especially in National Parks such as Kaeng Krachan there are encounters between vehicles and elephants which have the potential to go wrong.

Here’s a lesson learned during one such encounter reported in the Bangkok Post. A car full of women and children found out the hard way that the first rule when meeting a wild elephant on the road is “don’t turn off the engine”. The car, driven by a woman who was accompanied by an elderly woman in the front seat and her children in the back, encountered a large wild elephant that was walking along the road. While other vehicles took the chance of passing by the animal, the driver hesitated, and after a short, anxious discussion with her elderly companion, decided to shut off her engine to avoid upsetting the elephant.


Unfortunately, this led the vehicle behind her to sound the horn which definitely did upset the animal. The huge elephant began walking around the car and hitting it periodically, much to the distress of the frightened occupants. With the engine off, there was nothing they could do to escape. Finally, the elephant began walking away and the driver started the engine, put the car in reverse and got the car a safe distance away. After her ordeal, the driver posted some tips on dealing with a wild elephant.


Here are a few of them:
1. Try to stay at least 30 metres away and if the elephants move toward you, drive your car away from it. Then wait until it leaves.
2. Don’t use your horn or make any loud noise.
3. Do not take any photos using a flash.
4. Keep your engine running at all times.