Seeing elephants on the streets in Thailand used to be very common. They would wander around the bars at night collecting coins or people would pay a few baht to feed them with sugar cane. Others would pay to crawl under the elephant for luck, especially on a birthday. One wonders where they all went to.
Elephants are still there in the numerous places which do trekking and shows, and the so called 'sanctuaries' which do much the same thing. All of these places are breeding elephants and, being long lived animals, there is a worrying problem emerging. Just where are they all going to go?
There are already too many elephants in some of the national parks. Space is at a premium. It is estimated that the Kang Ang Rue Nai national park can comfortably support a population of around 190 animals. Unfortunately the numbers there are now somewhere between 250 and 270 elephants. There is not enough space or food to go round.
Animals are now coming out of the forest and raiding the surrounding farms. A few more wiley groups are hijacking trucks loaded with sugarcane or cassava. The authorities have now prohibited nightime travel and use of the roads in the area to prevent elephant attack.
What is the solution? Contraception, culling, relocation. Whatever... this is an elephant sized problem which is not going to go away in a hurry.
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