The trend continues!
Khao Yai’s transition from a National Park to an Amusement Park continues.
I will have a look at the different points.
Tourism is continuing to change from people loving nature to people with other interests.
Most tourists with nature interests are not coming back to Khao Yai National Park,
they are replaced by people showing of their new cars, pets and big bikes and huge numbers of bicycle riders.
Pets like dogs, cats, rabbits and many domesticated wild animals can be seen every weekend.
Vehicles are mostly exceeding the speed limits by far;
Data collected in a certain spot during the last few years show, that the average speed has increased from
58 km/h in 2006 to 83 km/h in 2015 with top speed of 157 km/h for a car and 191 km/h for a motorbike.
A survey in November shows 31% of cars and 84% of big bikes exceeding the speed limit by more than 20 km/h!
At the same time noise levels, mainly from big bikes have increased as well 74 % above 95 db in November.
In the past, high tourist numbers were concentrated on only a few long weekends, but now its every weekend
throughout the year.
Of course, the Department of National Park needs the income from park entrance fees, but continuing their
( partially illegal) two tier pricing structure is further driving away people looking for nature.
Park staff has not increased, putting a big strain on them, many are diverted away from necessary work like
protection to help out with tourists.
Traffic accidents have increased from 2 or 3 annually to 2 or 3 on any day during weekends.
Elephants are chased away from roads to accommodate a smooth traffic flow, but there are more and more
incidents of elephants damaging cars; it is just a matter of time, until somebody gets seriously hurt!
Increased poaching especially for Siamese Rosewood and reduced patrols (lack of manpower) have a serious impact!
For the first time in at least 20 years Elephants got killed for their tusks in 2015!
Grasslands are not maintained (burned), resulting in more human wildlife conflicts.
An absolute record number of elephants has left the park boundaries looking for food in 2015!
This of course was made worse by the severe draught in 2015 but is set to get much worse with an
expected worse draught in 2016!
Rangers with better training do a fantastic job , but there is just not enough manpower available.