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Hard times for owner of elephant that killed tourist

Hard times for owner of elephant that killed tourist

BURI RAM: Peng Yimram has had a hard time making ends meet since his elephant - he calls her Cherry - killed a man at a jungle hotel in the Khao Yai area last month.

animalstourismeconomicsdeathSafety
By Bangkok Post

Saturday 22 May 2021, 03:04PM


Local officials take a look at Cherry the unemployed elephant, in Satuk district of Buri Ram on Friday. The sign on the tree warns people not to approach her. Photo: Surachai Piragsa / Bangkok Post

Local officials take a look at Cherry the unemployed elephant, in Satuk district of Buri Ram on Friday. The sign on the tree warns people not to approach her. Photo: Surachai Piragsa / Bangkok Post

Mr Peng, 51, and his 28-year-old elephant returned to their home in Satuk disrict, in the north of Buri Ram province, after the management of the hotel where they worked said they were no longer welcome, reports the Bangkok Post.

They have been unemployed since.

Cherry trampled to death a man in front of the Jungle House Khaoyai resort, near Thanarat Rd in Pak Chong district of Nakhon Ratchasima, in mid-April.

The elephant is now chained up in the grounds of Wat Pa Ban Khok Moo-Ban Phai in Tambon Satuk.

The area is shaded by trees and there is fresh grass she can browse. But they have no work.

Mr Peng said Cherry is very quiet and seems lonely since being parted from her friends in Khao Yai. He said she is not dangerous, but he has put a sign anyway warning people to keep away from her.

But without work he has no money, and she is short of food.

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His elephant needs about 100 kilogrammes of food a day, which would cost B400-500  money he does not have. He previously earned B10,000-20,000 a month from tourists, and this was enough for them both to survive, he said.

Now, she relies on gifts of bananas and sugarcane from villagers, and a little cash from the occasional tourist, but it’s not enough. He desperately hopes things will improve and he can get work again after the COVID-19 situation improves.

Asked about the tragedy in Pak Chong, Mr Peng said people must not approach any elephant unattended by its owner. An elephant was likely to attack strangers, especially if it was in a bad mood, he said.

On Apr 15 his elephant Cherry trampled to death a municipal worker, Rachan Theerapittayatrakul, 55, who moved in too close and tried to give her food on the roadside outside the Jungle House Khaoyai resort.

Mr Rachan was on holiday with his wife and daughters.

Mr Peng told police he had left the elephant there to graze and trim the grass outside the hotel.

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Kurt | 22 May 2021 - 19:47:36

Perhaps a 'new normal' for elephant Cherry as well?  Bring her to one of the Thai nature reserves were more elephants are. Keep her in a 'alone situation' till at least end of the year is is not a promising situation for a elephant. Present situation is mentally torturing her.

 

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