Planting trees to aid wild elephants in Kaeng Krung National Park
Kaeng Krung National Park is located in Surat Thani province, approximately 70km North-East from Cheow Larn Lake and our Rainforest Camp. Due to its proximity with Khao Sok National Park, the wild elephant populations can sometimes move between the two areas. In the recent years the wild elephants have started to find their way to locals’ plantations in a village bordering with the Kaeng Krung National Park.
It first started with a single elephant roaming in nearby plantations, eating the villagers’ crops. As often happens in areas with human-elephant conflict, more elephants started to forage in the plantations, seeking food. Today as many as ten elephants come out to human settlements regularly. One male has even made it all the way the local school, situated about 2km from the National Park border. This of course has raised many safety concerns in the local community.
We have visited many areas struggling with human-elephant conflict in Thailand, and although the situation wasn’t as alarming as in many other areas, we knew that over the coming years it could turn much worse. In Kaeng Krung National Park the number of wild elephants was also increasing, but their habitat wasn’t getting any bigger.
Together with the National Park we came up with a plan to plant trees to increase food supply of the wild elephants, trying to eliminate the need to seek food outside the forest borders. We were also looking into ways to offset carbon emissions caused by our international marketing flights. What would be a better way to do this while at the same time helping the wild elephants and the local community!