× The park is the third largest in Thailand. It covers an area of 300 square kilometers, including tropical seasonal forests and grasslands. Its altitude mostly ranges from 400–1,000 m above sea level. There are 3,000 species of plants, 320 species of birds, and 67 species of mammals, recording in this, Thailand's most famous National Park.

Elephants and motorbikes

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3 years 3 weeks ago - 2 years 2 months ago #3192 by Paul T
Elephants and motorbikes was created by Paul T
In case anyone missed Andy Merk's incredible video (I did as I was in Europe) of the motorbike rider and the elephants - here are the links:

Andy's incredible Video on YouTube ....


Andy's write up of events - www.khaoyainews.com/wild-elephant-herd-attacks-motorbike/
Andy's Facebook page - www.facebook.com/andy.merk1

Andy raises some very valid issues re Khao Yai and motorbikes as well as other forms of transport in the park on his Facebook page.

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3 years 3 weeks ago #3198 by Paul T
Replied by Paul T on topic Elephants and motorbikes
Just saw on ThaiPBS that they are reinforcing the 95 db limit for motorbikes in Khao Yai.

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3 years 3 weeks ago - 3 years 3 weeks ago #3199 by onflipflops
Replied by onflipflops on topic Elephants and motorbikes
Amazing video indeed. And one hell of a lucky biker! Praying does help!
And I think I am actually not really joking. It's simply his gestures/ the way he stands which probably did not feel threatening to the elephants, so they spared him. Not sure if the engine of the scooter was still running when he dropped it. This probably also drew more attention from the elephants to his bike than to him.
But this could have gone worse. I have been in his shoes. Cornered, only in my case it was just one male elephant. Apart from an early trumpet when it started his charge, he was not as vocal like the herds sometimes are.

This Sunday I happened to drive by when the elephants were out, I guess that must have been shortly after the incident, but I am not completely sure, could have been just before?
Was doing some herping with a friend, just finished our photoshoot of some Large-eyed Pit Vipers along the trail to Haew Narok, and then on the way back the ranger car blocked us while they were using their alarm lights and sound to chase the elephants into the jungle, off the road. Common practice since a couple years when they first got those pick up trucks with alarm lights.
I am not a great fan of this practice, and sometimes even wonder if the increase of elephant 'violence' is a direct consequence of this, but well, that's just speculating. It surely will not add to the elephants feeling safe near cars.
But in this case the motorbikes were the problem. And there sure were a lot of them that Sunday! The speed and noise with which they raced passed our car was absolutely crazy. I know I am very annoying on the road. All those visitors must have thought, what is this crazy guy doing? Driving so slow... I was one of the few cars that was driving less than 40km/ hr that day, haha. Not pleasant to look for vine snakes in the roadside bushes while a constant row of 10 cars and bikes pushes you from behind. But anyway, we succeeded with spotting an orange morph vine snake.
The bikes were going the 'Thai' way through the curves where you have no idea what's coming from the other side... It always surprises me how lucky they always are that the traffic form the other side is not driving as crazy as they are... Not obeying the speedlimit is one thing, but cutting the curves is something I just can not understand.

Anyway, about motorbikes and elephants.
I have witnessed in the past how different elephants react to motorbikes compared to cars. I have notcied this many times, but in one particular case it couldn't have been more clear. A herd of elephants was happily feeding on one of the saltlicks along that same road to Haew Narok. As usual it was very busy that day, and as if the elephants know that people would like to see them, they always choose to appear on these busy weekend days. They were not on the road, so not blocking the traffic that day, so cars were constantly driving by. We parked nearby and watched them for a while. After some time a small group of 'big bikes' drove by, and suddenly the elephants' mood totally changed. You could see the fear. Restless moving around, the calfs hiding close to their mothers. And when the bikes took off and the sound faded away, the elephants became calm again and continued eating the soil. Lots of cars were still driving by, but the elephants did not seem to care.

It's a shame for the motorbikers that don't use full gass in low gear, or even modified exhausts, and keep to the speedlimit, but a ban would be probably be the only option. Yes they say they will enforce the 95 db rule. But how would they want to check? As soon as you go full speed in low gear from 0 to 100+ the sound will far exceed this. They can not check that at the park entrance on a busy Sunday.
Better still would be to make so many speed bumps that it becomes a pain to drive for the bikers (and cars alike). Then they will choose different routes.
I would like to see a lot of road blocks, reducing the road to 1 lane. The current speed bumps can be taken at quite some speed. Just put some big concrete blocks in the middle of the road for which people really need to slow down or stop to let cars from the other side go first.
It will be a pain to drive, but it's probably the only thing that works. If you do it every few hundred metres...
Or just remove the tarmac, and go back to a dirt road full of potholes. But I don't think the authorities will think that's a real option ;-) .
I fear for the worst now they have re-surfaced the road in Kaeng Krachan. That will be fun the coming months...
Waiting for the first leopard roadkill by the speeidng cars that enter at 5:30AM to race to Panoen Thung...

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3 years 3 weeks ago - 3 years 3 weeks ago #3200 by Paul T
Replied by Paul T on topic Elephants and motorbikes

onflipflops wrote: ...................
Better still would be to make so many speed bumps that it becomes a pain to drive for the bikers (and cars alike). Then they will choose different routes.
I would like to see a lot of road blocks, reducing the road to 1 lane. The current speed bumps can be taken at quite some speed. Just put some big concrete blocks in the middle of the road for which people really need to slow down or stop to let cars from the other side go first.
It will be a pain to drive, but it's probably the only thing that works. If you do it every few hundred metres...
......................


Great idea! And easy to achieve, flip-flops.

And good point about the cars - the generally poor driving standards, that have earned Thailand the title of second most dangerous country to drive in, are not left at the gate.

The management of the parks aside - it makes my blood boil that these people don't respect the notion of a national park and what it is intended for.

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3 years 2 weeks ago - 3 years 2 weeks ago #3218 by NN
Replied by NN on topic Elephants and motorbikes

The management of the parks aside - it makes my blood boil that these people don't respect the notion of a national park and what it is intended for.


I agree, if people had more respect the job of management would be much easier. IF ppl want to visit for selfies and lattes, that can be OK, as long as the recognize it is the animals domain first and foremost. A lot can be done through education, it's a World Heritage park, something to be proud of and not abuse.

On Monday I drove through, at the Southern entrance we were given a laminated info sheet telling us what to do in case of elephant encounters. The info was clear and thorough, we handed it back upon exiting.

I also noticed there are new signs everywhere, warning of elephants, not to feed animals etc. Besides one guy feeding a monkey at the visitor center and another crazy driver, most people had a different attitude to what I've experienced before, traffic was noticeably slower. At Heaw Narok one guy approached us to say he'd seen an elephant, checking we that we had the laminated info.

The southern entrance used to close at 9:00, now it is closing at 6:00, I'm not sure if they just stopping cars entering, but still letting them exit late. The Heaw Narok track now closes at 5:00, due to animals feeding. It was good to see so many effective changes in such a short time. The visitor center is now much better, which is great for the international kids that visit.

One thing I think would be good is more education and involvement of communities bordering the park. It would be nice to see them develop suitable sustainable businesses, rather than race tracks, which belong in places like Pattaya.

Our kids school almost borders the park, yet the learn nothing about it. School excursions are to places like Safari world. I would prefer they visited the park center and learnt about the world around them.

The NN river is fed from Heaw Narok, it provides employment for maybe thousands of ppl, through rafting and other leisure activities. If it wasn't for the park views, land would be worth a lot less. I'm not sure if locals realize the economic benefits of the park, because if they did they would be more serious about protection.

I'd prefer not to have more speed humps, but if ppl can't control themselves there's little option. A quota system or even having ppl register a few days before entering would reduce traffic. An outright ban would be easier to enforce, but I'd really hate to see it come to that.

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