Tragedy at a durian plantation: Victims of an electric fence

02.11.2023
Tragedy at a durian plantation: Victims of an electric fence

Who is to blame for the incident?

An electrified fence on a private plantation has caused the death of two wild elephants in Thailand. The deadly discharge caught up with the large animals during a nighttime raid on durian crops. The tragedy shocked the public and exposed the severity of the conflict of interest between humans and elephants in the region.

National park officials in Surat Thani province are investigating the deaths of a 30-year-old male elephant and a 20-year-old female elephant. Their bodies were found on a forest trail near a fenced-in durian plantation. According to preliminary reports, the cause of death was electrocution from a live wire.

This wire surrounded the private plantation of local farmer Suwannee. Apparently, such "protection" from wild animals turned out to be a tragedy for two elephants. Now the woman faces imprisonment for violating legislation on the protection of fauna.

Unfortunately, such incidents in Thailand are happening more and more often. The reason for the growing conflicts between elephants and people is the rapid increase in the population of wild elephants against the background of the reduction of suitable habitats. As a result, hungry herds are forced to raid farmland in search of food.

Since 2012, more than 100 people have died in clashes with elephants in Thailand. In turn, locals have resorted to drastic defense measures up to and including setting death traps. Obviously, the situation requires a comprehensive approach, taking into account the interests of both people and elephants. Otherwise, the conflict will only escalate, threatening both sides.

Finding optimal ways of coexistence between humans and elephants

Unconventional solutions are needed to reduce tensions between humans and elephants in Thailand. Electrified fences only exacerbate the situation. What is needed are measures aimed at peaceful coexistence.

Instead of electrified fences, it is advisable to use hedges of thorny shrubs. They will deter elephants, but without risking their lives. Strips with sharp odor and acoustic devices with light and sound effects are also effective. Their advantage is their mobility and the impossibility of animals getting used to them.

A more humane alternative to shooting aggressive elephants is to sterilize them, which will help reduce conflict in herds. It is equally important to expand elephant habitats by creating additional watering holes and feeding groves. This will reduce encroachment into settlement areas.

It is also useful to establish safe migration routes between habitats in the form of vegetation "corridors". In addition, it is important to educate the public about the habits of wild elephants so that people can avoid conflicts with the animals.

An integrated approach that takes into account the interests of all parties is the best solution to the problem. Harmonious coexistence is possible if there is goodwill and willingness to compromise. Tragedies like the one that occurred on the durian plantation should not happen again.

Author of the article: Ekaterina Antonova