This story was reported by Thai PBS online news source about an interview with Dr. Supakit Vinitponsawan the leader of Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai Wildlife Research Station. Dr. Supakit is the first person in Thailand who will be attaching the GPS collar onto the elephant. The main goal of the GPS collar is to help solve the issue between villagers and wild elephants.
Dr. Supakit reported that there have always been many issues with the elephants residing near Khao Ang Nang Nai. The area is the worst in Thailand when aiming towards villagers and elephants. In 5 years, there have been over 100 villagers harmed from the elephants with over 50 villagers dead and 50 elephants dead.
There are 6 groups of wild elephants that like to travel outside of the Wildlife Sanctuary. There will be 80 to 90 elephants from the first group of elephants to be tracked with the GPS collar. When the huge group of elephants travel, they leave behind a large area of damage including risks to humans around the area.
The GPS collar will help inform us of the accurate location of each elephant which is used as a warning sign for the protection of the people living in the area. Most of the elephants with the GPS collars live outside of the Sanctuary, the GPS collars will help the officials chase the elephants back into the wildlife sanctuary where they will be able to live in peace safely.
The first elephant ever in Thailand to have the GPS collar is named Se Doh Payanak. The elephant is a full grown male weighing over 3.5 tons and over 2.7 meters tall. The GPS collar was successfully attached to him by a team of wildlife professionals and vets on the 22nd of December 2018 in Tha Takiap district, Chachoengsao province.
The procedure is done by professionals who have previous experiences dealing with wild elephants. There will be three main groups of professionals involved in the process including, 1. A team of researchers who will be attaching the collar onto the elephant, making sure that the GPS is located on top of the elephant’s neck for good signaling to the satellites, 2. A team of vets that will check the overall health of each elephant including blood and DNA tests, and 3. A protection team that will keep watch and take care of the elephant in the process including everyone involved from the other elephants in the group.
FB Caption: In 5 years, there have been over 100 villagers harmed from the wild elephants.
Source: Thai PBS