A study into the feasibility of relocating some of the gaur population from Khao Phaeng Ma wildlife sanctuary in Nakhon Ratchasima to a nearby forest is set to be conducted in an effort to find a long-term solution to the conflict between local farmers and the wild animals.
Nakhon Ratchasima Governor Wichien Chantharanothai on Tuesday met with concerned agencies at Nakhon Ratchasima City Hall to update operations on tackling the conflict between farmers and wild gaur, which encroach into the locals’ farmland.
The meeting resolved to conduct a survey of an area in Phu Luang forest, which is the first option for finding a new home for the Khao Phaeng Ma gaurs.
Khao Yai forest, meanwhile, is to be an alternative option, if the study finds that Phu Luang forest is unsuitable for gaurs.
Wichien said the province had been working closely with the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department (NPD) on the plan to solve the problem of gaur overcrowding in Khao Phaeng Ma wildlife sanctuary, which is the main cause of the conflict between local farmers and the beasts.
“We have found that the number of gaurs in Khao Phaeng Ma wildlife sanctuary is already beyond the capacity of the forest to sustain the population, so we have a long-term plan to relocate some of the gaur population to nearby Phu Luang forest,” he said.
“However, we will not rush this operation, as we have to ensure the safety of the people and wild gaurs as the first priority, and guarantee that the new home for the gaurs will be ready to sustain their lives and prevent problems to the ecosystem in the future,” the provincial governor stressed.
Amphonphimon Prayoon, forestry technical officer of the NPD’s Wildlife Conservation Division, said her office would be in charge of the feasibility study and there would be a survey of the geography of the forest and food and water sources for gaurs in the area, in order to make sure that the forest can sustain the gaur population.
She added that the threat from poachers and the dispute over overlapping areas between the forest and people’s farmland would also have to be considered and included in the study.
The field survey will take around seven days to complete, after which the information gained will be analysed within 30 days, Amphonphimon said.