In the Loei province of north east Thailand, fields of sweet sugarcane was enough to attract a wild herd of elephants. They ditched the forest to satisfy their sweet tooth with a farmer’s sugarcane crops.
Farmers were furious by the intruders; 50 large giants destroyed approximately $5,900 worth of crops after they escaped a nearby wildlife sanctuary. The locals attempted to contain them but the elephants were too obsessed with the sugar cane that they resisted the efforts to get them back to the Phy Luang Wildlife Sanctuary.
Phra Kradueng District Chief Phuriwat Chotinparat said: “As for the affected villagers, we try to understand that the elephants are addicted to the taste of food — especially bananas and sugarcane.
“Normally, elephants do not live in deciduous dipterocarp forests like this. This is the first time ever that wild elephants have ever come to live in the Phu Kho Phu Kratae forest.
“Between 4-6 p.m. every day, the elephants come out to find food — they don’t eat until it’s gone but graze and move along, causing damage to a large area.”
Farmers are running around trying to save whatever sugarcane is left since the elephants have developed a strong liking to it and will probably cause more damage. The chief added that a “sugarcane-free zone” might have to be implemented in the future agriculture plans.
A hungry tusker is a force to reckon with and experts are strategizing how to encourage harmony among the elephants and farmers before things get worse.