The Elephant Conservation Network Joins Forces



Posted on 20 September 2012
The Elephant Conservation Network Joins Forces to guide elephants back to the wild as drought threatens their habitats Kuiburi, Prachuap Kirikhan, September 20, 2012 - WWF Thailand and the Elephant Conservation Network are collaborating efforts on connecting fragmented elephant populations with its natural habitats. Severe drought in areas surrounding Kuiburi National Park in Prachuap Kirikhan province has forced elephants to encroach agricultural lands in search of food and water.

Kuiburi National Park, Kuiburi Forest Royal Development Project coordination team (Ror.11 Pan.3 Ror-Or), Cobra Unit, Foundation for the King's Wild Elephant of Kuiburi National Park, Kuiburi district office, Prachuap Kirikhan’s Ranger Forces Regiment 14, Border Patrol Police troop 145, Prachuap Kirikhan’s Department of Livestock Development and Siam Winery Trading Plus Co., Ltd. will jointly launch a special 60men strong unit who will focus on wildlife protection and the development of migratory corridors. Wild elephants are expected to be guided back to the nature reserve and will be able to follow normal migration patterns in times of environmental stresses such as drought and famine. “Prachuap Kirikhan supports the deployment of Army rangers into Kaochao sub-district of Pranburi district for conservation purposes. The rangers will be stationed in the area for 10 days each month for 6 months. The information from their mission is critical for developing appropriate conservation measures”. Lieutenant Colonel Sataporn Tiapetchdee, Deputy Army Commander of Ranger Forces Regiment 14 said.

Chollthorn Chamnankid, Chief of Kuiburi National Park said that the operation is expected to revitalize current elephant communities by establishing migratory corridors to its existing habitat in Kuiburi National Park and by intensifying anti-poaching patrols. Despite the National Park’s rich food resources, the protected area is also vulnerable to wildlife poaching due to its distance from the park’s headquarters and communication problems. The joint operation is launched in connection with the Memorandum of Understanding which addresses the issue of poaching and other environment crimes. The MOU outlines the province’s commitment to adhere to His Majesty the King’s wildlife preservation projects, to support the government policy on wildlife protection and conservation, and to strengthen existing efforts by uniting partnerships between the public sector, the private sector and community leaders.

“Even though we still cannot indicate whether or not the drought was caused by climate change, the future wildlife conservation needs more proactive operations and larger overall conservation areas management. We must be ready to deal with the natural disasters that will have widespread impacts on the communities and wildlife. Wayupong Jitwijak, the manager of Kuiburi Elephant Conservation and Anti-Poaching Project of WWF Thailand said The Elephant Conservation Network’s concerted effort is a prototype for effective wildlife conservation achieved through multilateral agreements. The initiative is devised to protect and prevent wildlife, suppress poaching, publicize and raise awareness on illegal hunting and to rehabilitate and monitor endangered wildlife. Mr. Wayupong added that the campaign included setting up special ops teams, gathering intelligence, conducting patrols, creating food security for wildlife species as well as promoting the value of wildlife, particularly elephants.

The operation to guide the stray elephants to its natural habitat will begin at 8AM on September 21. The Army Commander of Ranger Forces Regiment 14 will supervise the launch of the special units, which will also be tasked with preventing elephants from re-encroaching on agricultural areas and with implementing counter-poaching measures. To ensure the maximum safety of elephants, special unit personnel have been briefed on proper elephant-handling methods and patrol coverage.
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