THE DROUGHT has now hit wildlife and may force animals to intrude into human communities for food and water as natural water sources dry up, an expert warned yesterday.
However, the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation revealed that Khao Yai National Park and Kui Buri National Park had already prepared water for animals to minimise intrusions into inhabited areas.
Royal Household Bureau veterinarian Dr Alongkorn Mahanop warned the drought would force wild animals such as elephants to migrate outside the forest for food and water because of water scarcity in national parks. “The wild animals have already felt the effect of the drought and they will do anything in order to survive,” Alongkorn said.
He said the situation in Khao Yai National Park was very bad because hotels and resorts around Khao Yai used so much water from the forest and caused the water supply in rivers and streams to dry up. Some intelligent animals such as elephants can smell the water from far away so they will leave the forest and venture into resort areas.
“I predict that within a few months, we will encounter wild animal intrusions outside the forest area more often,” he said.
Khao Yai National Park chief Kanchit Srinoppawan said the park was looking at the water shortage in the forest and had already prepared plans to supply water to wild animals.
Kanchanaphan Khamhaeng, Kui Buri National Park chief, said his park had to provide water and food for wild animals to prevent them from migrating outside the national park.
“We face a serious drought this year and the water and food for wild animals is running short. Therefore, the national park has worked with a Royal Initiative Project to build 16 artificial concrete ponds for the animals in the national park area,” Kanchanaphan said. “Currently, we have already built 11 ponds, which have a radius of seven metres, are one metre deep and can hold 12,000 litres of water. Five other ponds are being built.”
He said that the ponds were at least 2.5 kilometres away from the private pineapple plantation outside the national park and a pasture was planted nearby to supply food for animals so they would not intrude into farm fields.
“The water will be refilled once every two days and cleaned by the military officers from the Royal Initiative Project,” he said.
However, Alongkorn warned the ponds could promote bacterial contamination in the soil, so the grounds should be examined every three to six months to prevent disease outbreaks.