Elephants Rule the Road!

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A frightening incident on a road in Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Nayok Province involved a wild elephant straddling a passenger car before rolling and badly damaging the rear of the vehicle.

The elephant, called Deu, sidled up to a car then rubbing against it, before sitting fully on the vehicle. The panicked driver only drove away after his car was badly damaged. “He usually likes to come to greet tourists anyway, but he has never hurt anyone or any vehicles,” said park director Kanchit Sarinpawan. “There were many factors that contributed to this. The driver was able to drive out, but he may have been too panicked to do so.”

Both driver and passenger, reportedly men in their 20s, were uninjured. But the 35-year-old male elephant Deu had dented the roof, and broken the rear and side windows.

“Elephants will come out of the wild a lot in these couple months since they are looking for food after the rainy season with their usual flora food in the forest drying up. Deu usually roams around the 28 to 32 kilometre mark on Thanarat Road, so watch out for him” said the park director.

The incident has prompted officials to remind visitors of the need to never harass or act in an irresponsible manner around these powerful and weighty wild creatures. The Khao Yai National Park has now published ’10 Elephant Rules’ to be observed when encountering elephants on the road, a common occurrence in many of Thailand’s National Parks, including Kaeng Krachan near Hua Hin.

10 ELEPHANT ROAD RULES

1. Stay at least 30 metres away and slowly back up to keep your distance if the
elephant approaches.

2. No flash photography.

3. Do not honk the car’s horn or make other loud noises.

4. Do not turn off the engine and be ready to drive away at any time.

5. Do not get out of the vehicle to take photos.

6. Turn off your headlights if encountering elephants at night. Do not flash headlights
or other lights at them.

7. If surrounded by elephants circling your car, move towards a spot in the circle with
no elephants.

8. If the car in front of you backs up, please back up as well, as it might be an
emergency situation.

9. Do not get out of the car and approach the elephant.

10. An elephant’s best senses are hearing, smell, and vision. If you turn off your
engine, the elephant will approach and use these senses to investigate, by looking
at, smelling, and listening to your car.

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