Acute water shortages in Huai Kha Khaeng wildlife sanctuary in Uthai Thani province have led to several elephants venturing out of the sanctuary to forage for water and food on farmland, according to Tarasak Nipanan, chief of the Huai Kha Khaeng wildlife breeding station.
He said that the sanctuary has been experiencing a water shortage since late last year and the situation appears to be worsening as a result of the El Niño, as natural water sources in the sanctuary have dried up.
He cited an incident on August 13th, when a villager was stomped to death by a wild elephant near the edge of the sanctuary.
As far as the wildlife breeding station is concerned, Tarasak said that there is sufficient water for about 400 animals, mostly deer, 11 tigers and seven leopards, after three water retention areas were built and water was supplied from a nearby irrigation project.
He said that the station does not have a food problem, because some of the meat, vegetables and fruit comes from public donations.
As for problems from elephants, he said that a 12km-long fence has been erected around the station, preventing elephants from entering and causing damage to animal cages.
The breeding centre also serves as a wildlife learning centre, which is open from 8.30am to 4.30pm.