Authorities and villagers in Mondulkiri province’s Keo Seima district have expressed fear for their safety after a herd of wild elephants roamed around their communities in Sre Khtum commune.
Keo Seima district governor Nuon Saron told The Post on Thursday that more than 10 wild elephants had come out of the jungle and eaten their crops, though they had not attacked any villagers or damaged their houses.
“For over 10 days, the wild elephants appeared and grazed the villagers’ crops. Over the past three or four days, four of the elephants have come close to the ponds around 50m behind our district hall."
“Now we are worried that the villagers may attack or set traps to catch them because they are angry that the elephants destroyed their crops,” he said.
Provincial environment department director Keo Sopheak told The Post on Thursday that rangers are keeping a close watch on the elephants’ activities. He urged the relevant authorities and the villagers to be patient and refrain from provoking or attacking the elephants for causing damage.
“There are between 10 and 20 of them. They appear in the area every year because it was once their habitat. The elephants are docile and wouldn’t attack us unless we hurt them first,” he said.
Keo Sopheak said the elephants first made their appearance in the area on March 18. With close proximity to the jungle, a stream and abundant grasslands, bamboos and waters, he said the area is a good feeding ground for the elephants.
“Their appearance at this time is a good sign and showed that our provincial forest is still home to wild animals and biodiversity, especially the Keo Seima wildlife sanctuary,” he said.