× Over 400 species of birds are known to occur within the Park’s boundaries, and 57 mammals. Larger mammals include elephant, gaur, sambar deer, banteng, serow, and bear, indo-chinese tiger, leopard, both common and Fea’s muntjac. Malayan tapir, white-handed gibbon, dusky and banded langurs, Asian wild dog, otter, and wild boar.

First jungle outing of the year in KK

13 Jan 2014 15:50 #1607 by Paul T
First jungle outing of the year was created by Paul T
Just back from my first trip of the year as well. It was to Kaeng Krachan.

A two goal trip, the first to start my practicing with macro video, and the second day to take the Mae Nam Phet trail because its such a nice trail and we all needed some exercise after the christmas/new year over indulgence.

First day was macro video - less said the better, lots of lessons learned but at least my tripod issues have been resolved by the Sachtler FSB-8 I bought myself (second hand on eBay) for xmas.

Second was a delightful hike to the Mae Nam Phet with the incomparable "Jim Fish", Jonathan, and "Ed the Invisible" who was wearing so much real tree camouflage we were not entirely sure if he was there or not? That stuff really does work. The Mae Nam Phet trail is the left fork of the Thor Thip Waterfall trail and it takes you down to the old "KU Camp" site on the Mae Nam Phet. You can find the gps track elsewhere on this site, but for those who have not done it, its a 4 km downhill trek followed by a gruelling 4 km climb back up.

The forest is drying out nicely and the tally of sightings for the day included 1) female sambar 2) Kaeng Krachan's Sapria ram, a rare flowering parasite herb related to and looking like the Rafflesia but smaller 3) Dusky langur 4) gibbons (heard only) 5) the sea of mist 6) a lone dhole 7) a mouse deer. There is bound to be something else I have forgotten.

We also bumped into a lone hiker on the trail with a large rucksack (not a daypack) who had apparently not followed the NP instructions about camping in the camp site, and then two very concerned rangers who were trying to locate the same hiker. I felt really sorry for the rangers, three people were lost on this trail for 3 days last year.

The river was lovely, the water level is down and the banks are clearing. Lots of animal tracks. And slight snoring was heard to come from all 4 participants as they dozed by the babbling river, framed by lush forest and blues skies.

All together a very good start to the year and I was left with a big smile on my face and very sore legs!

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13 Jan 2014 20:12 - 13 Jan 2014 20:13 #1613 by jonathanbkk
Replied by jonathanbkk on topic First jungle outing of the year
It was a great first trip, perfect weather for walking the trails.

Adding this one after looking around to get an ID

8. Green Keelback snake/Rhabdophis nigrocinctus roadside and near the stream 1km from Ban Krang

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13 Jan 2014 23:15 #1615 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic First jungle outing of the year
Nice report!

Sounds like a great trail, ... next time when I get there...
Even a Dhole and a Mouse Deer, good work!

My second trip of the year delivered better than the first, at least in terms of live animals ;).
The highlight: A Binturong in a fruiting fig tree, sadly at a rather long distance, it had rolled itself up on a branch, sleeping; leaves blocking most of the view. No decent picture opportunity, but anyway great to see!
And a surprisingly high score of snakes for the time of year. Usually the cold months are not so great, but I found a Vogel's Pit Viper perfectly blending in between the green foliage of a branch hanging over a river. Still excited about the find, I walk 5 - 10 metres further, and spotted a second one! Similar situation. Maybe I 'discovered' their preferred wintering locations. Interestingly, even though not in direct sun light, leaves blocking direct exposure by the sun, it seemed a rather warm spot, and the sun reflected in the water onto the snakes their bellies. A great way to warm up without being visible for flying predators.

Later a large Green Keelback (also known as Black-banded Keelback) moved away from the trail. And in the late afternoon number four, a Grey Kukri Snake crossed the road in daylight; uncommon snake to see!
Other nice sightings of that day included a Giant Asian Softshell Turtle, Chinese Water Dragon, and Great Hornbills.

In regards of my 2014 wishes I'm planning to visit Sa Kaeo coming weekend with another herping fanatic; test our luck on finding a Russel's Viper which is said to be quite common in that area. I'm not sure if it is a good time of year, though I've read these snakes are actually less active in the rain season, so I hope that means it is instead active in this season. Even though 100% focussing on it, I have low expectations that our first attempt is going to bring success, but well anyway I'm sure it will be fun. If we will succeed pictures will definitely follow!

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24 Jan 2014 10:51 - 24 Jul 2017 13:28 #1635 by jonathanbkk
Replied by jonathanbkk on topic First jungle outing of the year
well sad news to report, it seems that the American girl we saw on the trail was not found on the last day that we saw her and after a long search they found her body in the jungle with what seems to be an incident with Elephants.

Only assuming but the day the rangers were looking for her and we talked with her, she must have not been found and moved into the jungle to sleep on her own.

I did some basic research on Facebook about her and she was a claimed survivalist so its only a guess she found trouble while breaking the rules about sleeping in the jungle of KK

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24 Jan 2014 16:18 #1636 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic First jungle outing of the year
That's a tragic story!

Even though I always say that I would rather die doing something I love - which in my case is being out there in the jungle looking for wildlife - than die from an ugly disease or in a road accident, it is still not something I hope to ever happen...

Seems like she had experience, and probably loves being out there; not many women go out by themselves in a jungle.
But maybe she underestimated wild elephants, or she just got caught in a herd without knowing it.
I guess she must have suffered from extreme pain before she died.
Very sad.

Last week while hiking in Khao Yai, rangers were out there looking for 2 people (Thai nationals). They had gone off into the jungle in the very early morning, and a friend or relative notified the rangers about them being lost. We could hear the rangers constantly calling for them, but apparently they had wandered off in a totally different direction. They were found later in the afternoon, and from what I've heard they both got a fine of 1000 baht. These people were lucky to have notified somebody, not sure what would have happened if nobody would have known they were out there.

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24 Jan 2014 22:01 - 24 Jan 2014 22:09 #1637 by Paul T
Replied by Paul T on topic First jungle outing of the year
Its very very sad indeed Jonathan. I just shared the information with the other two of our party that day, all are in disbelief that someone we accidentally met on a trail one morning, never returned. Its quite hard to come to terms with it, she was youthful and obviously a nature lover. I am glad we spoke with her. I assumed she was returning back up the Tor Thip trail, but it would seem she had other intentions. Somehow I just wish we had talked to her some more. I don't know what about, but its sad to think of her alone, even if that was her intention.

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25 Jan 2014 09:38 #1639 by jonathanbkk
Replied by jonathanbkk on topic First jungle outing of the year
My questions are many

-I wonder if the rangers found her that day we saw her, took her back to the campgrounds, and then she went into the jungle again? They found her on the 18th after a 5 day search and we saw her on the 11th

-Wondering what part of the park they found her in? Near Thor Thip or was it elsewhere?

-Wondering if they found her in a campground setting and was attacked at night or was it out and about in the jungle? (like she heard elephants and went too close)

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25 Jan 2014 18:34 - 30 Dec 2015 09:05 #1643 by Paul T
Replied by Paul T on topic First jungle outing of the year
Video of body retrieval from DailyMail site

From the video (above) she was found in the section of Kaeng Krachan about 6 km before Baan Krang. So she did make it back from the Tor Thip trail where we saw her. She must have moved down to Baan Krang.

She was a young biologist. Very sad.

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29 Dec 2015 22:24 #3296 by Bjarnie
Replied by Bjarnie on topic First jungle outing of the year
I just read this very sad story.

If it happened around Ban Krang I have a question:
Do you have any Information how to react if you meet Elephants on a Trail in the Jungle (walk to Waterfall, Birdwatching etc.)?

On the way to Pala-U Waterfall is an Infocentre about Elephants. There are some rules, if you sit in a car (stop driving, don’t use horn etc.). But nothing more.

Wild Elephants are maybe the most dangerous animals in Thailands Jungle (if you don’t meet a Tiger ;) ). Many incident happend.
Some are deadly for humans. Some are lucky for humans (Remember the Story „Elephants and motorbikes“ at the end of October in Khao Yai NP).

For sure you should not come to close. Elephants are normaly not alone. If you run, maybe they run to and hunt you. And it is clear who will lose…

On a small Hiking with Guide in Kui-Buri 2 years ago, we meet 3 Elephamts just max. 80 meters away. We had luck because we were on their backside. So they don’t hear, see or smell us (hoped so).

Have you ever been in trouble with Elephants?

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30 Dec 2015 01:09 #3298 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic First jungle outing of the year
Yes they are dangerous, but generally it's not too hard to avoid them. Solitary males in musth are often said to be the most dangerous. However, I would anytime choose a male over a herd. Males are often solitary. If there is only one, avoiding is relatively easy.
Meeting a herd in the jungle is scary. Elephants can be extremely quiet, more quiet than most people hiking in the jungle.
Seeing one could mean there are many spread around, and if you end up to be in the middle, praying like the biker in Khao Yai, might be your only option (or climb a big tree...)

Most of the time the elephants know you are there. Their hearing is a lot better than ours, and so is their sense of smell. And if you are outside their comfort zone they are OK.
If you are too close the ears will go out and stop clapping. This is the first sign they are aware of your presence and it usually means that you need to back off.
If you don't leave or even get closer, they might charge. Though sometimes they run off.
If you do get charged, running away is the best you can do. Get out of its comfort zone. Yes, elephants are fast, but not faster than a human with adrenaline rush!
Standing your ground is not recommendable. It does work sometimes. I have once been cornered by a bull, so had no other option but to stand my ground, while he was no more than 4 - 5 m away from me where it stopped and watched me. Due to dense bushes I was not able to run. And I was simply lucky to meet the right elephant at the right day. Otherwise it could have been my last day...
This case, the charge came as a total surprise because besides us, another group of hikers turned up on the other side of the elephant. We had already been there for a while watching it. The elephant knew we were there, but he was OK with that. It continued browsing and the ears were happily flapping. But when the other group suddenly arrived from his other side, he must have felt surrounded and that freaked him out so without any warning he started charging towards us!
It all happened too quickly, so I can't recall exactly, but I guess because my fellow group members who were in front of me did not run fast enough for my liking, I took a turn off the trail, and that turned out to be a bad choice as I ended up in dense bushes.

Lesson learned. There are other factors that could suddenly scare the animal and get you in danger. So always be prepared!

But besides this experience which happened in one of my first years in Thailand, all my encounters after that have been without problems. Just keep your distance. Watch the signs, and keep in mind the possibility of the 'external factors'.

The animals that worry me the most are the bears.
Though, night walking in tiger habitat is also quite scary. Still, in daytime I guess you might be better off meeting a tiger than a bear.
But, knock on wood, all my bear encounters have been without any trouble. But the bears often seem to act totally fearless. I would not want to meet a big Asian Black Bear mommy with two cubs...
I have yet to meet a tiger on foot. Surely I will have shaky legs for an hour or longer if that ever happens.
I had one close encounter with a leopard in Kaeng krachan, earlier this year, where it was standing 30m away from me. But it just slowly walked off.
I might be wrong, but I have never heard of Leopard attacks in Thailand.

In the end, with Thailand being number two in the world with most traffic deaths, I think you are more likely to get killed while driving to a national park, then while spending your days inside these parks.
Just use common sense.

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