The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment with the Director-General of the National Park Service has officially opened the wild elephant surveillance centre and early warning system at Kui Buri National Park.
The opening was joined by officials from the Chart Thai Pattana Party, the Ministry of Transport, al Park, Wildlife and Wildlife Department Plant and senior executives of the National Park Service , Kui Buri National Park Board of Directors, Bureau of Conservation, True Group, World Wildlife Fund Thailand, Prachuap Khiri Khan Provincial government, village headman, villagers, teachers-students and the Kui Buri Wildlife Conservation Network.
Mr. Warawut Silpa-archa, Deputy Minister of Interior said that “the management of conflicts between people and wild elephants in the Kui Buri National Park area Department of National Parks was introduced in a royal speech of His Majesty the King (Rama 9) on July 5, 1999. He said that “elephants should be in the forest, just have to make the forest have enough elephant food. The practice is to make food in the forest into small plots and spread. In the case of elephants coming out to the forest, must give safety to wild elephants “
Later the Department of National Parks and True Group made a memorandum of understanding concerning cooperation with the Elephant Elephants Surveillance Project with an early warning system in Kui Buri National Park on December 26, 2017. This was because the boundary between the conservation area and agricultural area was a conflict zone between people and wild elephants.
Mr Warawut Silpa-archa, Deputy Minister of Transport, said that using early warning systems with communication technology, camera traps and smart early warning systems in computers and smartphones in real time will support operational staff to effectively monitor and control elephants. This will lead to a balanced coexistence between wild elephants and communities in the area
“This will be an example of how to solve similar problems in other conservation areas. “
Mr Theeraphon Thanomsakyuth Chief Executive of Innovation and Sustainability, True Group, said that the operation of the Elephant Smart Early Warning System includes 25 checkpoints. When elephants or any object move through the zone cameras will record and send images to staff at the Control Room. Images can be sent via mobile or e-mail to staff so that elephants can be returned to forest areas.
With a Smart Application, data such as the checkpoint coordinates, number of elephants, time of damage, etc. will be recorded by the system for analysis and problem solving.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Thailand, Ms. Pimphawadee Phahonyothin, Chief Executive Officer stated that “Kui Buri National Park Is one of the best managed areas of human-elephant conflict in the region. WWF staff has received information to research elephant populations and behaviour.
Improvements to food sources and the creation of conservation participation with the community is considered another step of success in working to reduce conflicts between people and elephants in the area. It also helps the villagers to have a good attitude towards wild elephants allowing people and elephants to be together.
Mr Thanyanet Thamkul, Director-General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said that a report from November 2018 to the present for a period of 10 months found that the damage rate to agricultural crops had been greatly reduced.
Kui Buri National Park, with an area covering Pran Buri District Sam Roi Yot District, Kui Buri District, Mueang District in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province consists of important natural resources such as plants, wildlife, and beautiful scenery, with an area of 605,625 rai or 969 square kilometres. It contains many species wildlife of regional and global importance; including wild elephants and tigers.
This project will be another way for all sectors to share knowledge,expertise, strategies and technologies to manage the conflict between wild elephants and communities in the area to increase the efficiency of the protection of wild elephants.
After the opening ceremony was completed the group visited the Elephant Conservation Centre to observe demonstrations by Kui Buri National Park officials.