Free elephant! Male elephant causes traffic jam while walking on the main road in Thailand

Elephants wandering on main roads in Thailand causing traffic jams

Excuse me: This elephant must have thought he was on a trunk road as he walked between cars - and created a long line of traffic 

Thailand is home to a large population of Asian elephants, a species that has been revered and celebrated in Thai culture for centuries. These majestic creatures have played an important role in the history and traditions of the country, and they continue to be a beloved symbol of Thailand’s rich cultural heritage.

Rush hour: The male Asian elephant held up vehicles for around an hour as he made his way along the long road in Khao Yai National Park, in Thailand

However, in recent years, the wandering of elephants on main roads has become a growing concern for both locals and tourists alike. These elephants are often owned by local villagers who use them for transportation and as a means of income through tourism. When not being used, these elephants are allowed to roam free, leading to unexpected appearances on main roads.

Road block: The bull was making his way towards food and would have been taught the route by his mother when he was a calf

The presence of elephants on main roads can cause significant traffic disruptions, with drivers often forced to wait for hours until the animals decide to move on. These disruptions can be particularly problematic in areas with heavy traffic, leading to delays and frustration for commuters and tourists alike.

Pit stop: The huge elephant would often veer off to eat some of the lush vegetation at the road side without any worries for the tourists in their cars nearby

To address this issue, the Thai government has taken steps to create designated elephant zones and training programs for elephant owners. These initiatives aim to provide a safe and sustainable solution for both the elephants and the local transportation system. By establishing areas where elephants can roam freely without disrupting traffic, and by providing education and resources for elephant owners, the government hopes to reduce the number of incidents involving elephants on main roads.

I know the way, thanks: Hungry elephants are known to walk on the National Park's road as - even before the tarmac was laid - the route was a popular one for finding food

In addition to these efforts, the Thai government has also encouraged tourists to visit elephant sanctuaries where they can safely observe and interact with these magnificent animals. These sanctuaries prioritize the well-being of the elephants and provide an alternative to traditional elephant rides and shows that can be harmful to the animals.

I know the way, thanks: Hungry elephants are known to walk on the National Park's road as - even before the tarmac was laid - the route was a popular one for finding food

However, while these initiatives are a step in the right direction, there are still challenges that need to be addressed. In recent years, there has been growing concern about the welfare of elephants in the tourism industry. Many tourists are now opting for ethical elephant sanctuaries that prioritize animal welfare, which means more elephants are now wandering freely on main roads, leading to more traffic disruptions.

Elephants, Long Endangered by Thai Crowds, Reclaim a National Park - The  New York Times

To find a sustainable solution that balances the needs of both the elephants and the local transportation system, the government and local communities must continue to work together. This could involve further investment in elephant sanctuaries and ecotourism initiatives that provide alternative sources of income for local communities. By ensuring the welfare of these magnificent animals, while also addressing the issue of traffic disruptions, Thailand can continue to celebrate its cultural heritage and protect its natural resources for generations to come.

Family of wild elephants hit the street inside Thai national park (VIDEO) |  Coconuts

In conclusion, while elephants are an important part of Thai culture, their wandering on main roads can cause significant traffic disruptions. It is important for the government and local communities to work together to find a solution that respects both the elephants and the needs of the local transportation system. By doing so, Thailand can continue to showcase its rich cultural heritage while also ensuring the safety and well-being of its people and its natural resources.

First GPS tracking for wild elephants in Thailand.

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