A truck being tipped over by an elephant searching for food in Thailand has been captured on camera. This highlights the issue of human-elephant conflict, which is a major contributor to the decline in elephant populations. This conflict arises due to elephants’ impact on crops and property, often resulting in retaliatory killings of these majestic creatures. In fact, 70% of Thai plantation owners believe that elephants should be eliminated completely. The World Wildlife Fund reports that the Asian elephant population has plummeted from 100,000 to between 35,000 and 50,000 in the past century, while African elephants have also experienced significant declines from 3 to 5 million to between 470,000 and 700,000. Human-wildlife conflict is a key factor in the global biodiversity crisis, leading to the decline of many species. Having healthy, biodiverse ecosystems is beneficial to people in various ways, as large carnivores contribute significantly to the ecotourism industry, reduce agricultural losses from crop-raiding animals, and decrease fatal vehicle collisions and the spread of Lyme disease by suppressing herbivore populations. However, human-carnivore conflict and retaliatory killing of carnivores have resulted in the global decline of many carnivore species.
After Tao reported the incident to a wildlife sanctuary, officials arrived and escorted the elephant away from the scene. The driver emerged from the truck unscathed. Tao expressed concern to the Nation, urging officials to monitor the area closely and advising motorists to steer clear of the elephant to prevent a recurrence of such an event. Climate change may escalate conflict with elephants in Africa and Asia, as herds are compelled to venture closer to human settlements in search of food and water due to increasingly arid conditions.
According to a research article published in Nature Climate Change, climate change is exacerbating human-wildlife conflicts. The study discovered that 80% of these incidents are being amplified due to rising temperatures, which are shrinking the resources available to animals like elephants, polar bears, snow leopards, and tapirs.