Open letter to all HEC stakeholders on Thailand nationwide HEC taskforce:
Thanks to hard work by the Royal Thai Forest Department and the DNP, Thailand is now the leader in Asian wild elephant conservation.
Unfortunately, the sharp increase in elephant populations has also led to a serious increase in HEC.
The biggest concern is now, that HEC in Thailand will follow the Indian example and get completely out of control.
Various stakeholders like DNP, RFD, the Royal Thai Armed Forces, NGO’s and civil society organizations are working on improvements and solutions, but only with very limited progress.
I believe, that we can do much better, by combining resources and available knowledge to be much more effective.
I would, therefore, suggest a nationwide task force, combining all stakeholders from all HEC areas in Thailand.
We should set up working groups on various aspects as follows:
- Population census, setting standards for evaluation, create database growth rates etc
- Habitat management along the lines of available conditions like water and food availability, disturbances like cattle, logging, poaching or other human activities
- Mapping all HEC areas and assess levels like Habitual crop-raiding, seasonal crop-raiding, no. of elephants involved, damage assessment years of problems etc
- Complete distribution area map including populations outside protected areas (Tha Mai)
- Create reporting standards
- Make a list of all tools and methods used in HEC mitigation both in Thailand and other countries
- Create evaluation methods for each tool or method to assess its effectiveness
This list will certainly grow over time and may eventually lead to a number of initiatives like standards for HEC control, habitat management, and even a comprehensive masterplan.
To make it clear, this is not a NWA project or has to be led by NWA or me, but we would be very happy to support any efforts in this direction.
Nature & Wildlife Association