Drought Caused by El Nino
The Huay Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, located in Thailand, has recently experienced a severe drought attributed to the El Nino weather phenomenon. This has caused significant disruption to the local ecosystem, particularly affecting the availability of food and water for the resident wildlife.
Wildlife Straying into Adjacent Areas
Due to the drought, elephants and other wild animals have been forced to venture into nearby areas in search of food and water. Some of these animals have infiltrated the Huay Kha Khaeng wildlife breeding station, while others have strayed further afield. The breeding station, which spans nearly 2,000 rai, is situated within the Huay Salao and Huay Khok Khwai forests in the Lansak district of Uthai Thani province.
Risks to Humans and Precautions
There have been reported incidents of human-wildlife conflicts, including a tragic event where a villager was fatally stomped by a wild elephant. As a result, officials have urged hikers and visitors to be vigilant about potential dangers from wild animals while in the vicinity of the sanctuary.
Breeding Station’s Efforts to Counter Drought
In response to the drought, the Huay Kha Khaeng wildlife breeding station has employed various strategies to mitigate its impact. The station is equipped with three reservoirs, covering 17, 7, and 3 rai each, providing a reliable water source for animals. Additionally, the station has constructed a 12-kilometer-long fence along one section of its border to prevent wildlife intrusion. However, this measure has proven insufficient in effectively containing animals, particularly wild elephants.
Wildlife Population and Conservation Efforts
The breeding station currently houses around 400 wild animals, predominantly hog deer and eld’s deer. It plans to release some of these animals into the Huay Salao and Huay Thap Rabam no-hunting zones to promote nature tourism. Besides, the station is rearing 11 tigers and seven leopards that were brought in while they were young.
The Huay Kha Khaeng wildlife breeding station is open daily from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm for nature and wildlife studies. However, the opening hours may be subject to change for safety reasons, as wild elephants have been spotted roaming nearby.
Remember to exercise caution when visiting the region and to respect the natural habitat of the wildlife living within the sanctuary.