at work, Sueb Nakhasathien's pleasure was in learning, writing, and
looking for more ways to protect Thailand's wildlife from destruction.
He would be 51 if he were alive today.
Nakasathien: Ten Years After
Story Vanchai Tan
10 a.m. on September 1, 1990, a wildlife sanctuary ranger entered
Sueb's apartment and found Sueb Nakasathien lying on his bed. A piece
of paper next to him said, "I intended to kill myself. No one is
involved in this."
Sueb chose to
become the Head of Huay Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary in 1989 instead
of going to London for his Ph.D. He was in charge of over 2,560 km2 of
Thailand's most pristine forests and it was home to him. Soon he found
out that a tiny unit of 42 people and a budget of US$ 11 per square
kilometer per year was all he had to work with in preserving the
feverishly during the day to control poaching, to study wildlife and
village life, and educate local communities and the public. At night
he would prepare lectures and reports. But the animal carcasses he
found, the cut timber he saw, and the rangers' lives he lost seemed to
Proposals to authority for buffer forest areas to protect Huay Kha
Khaeng were met with smiles but followed with silence. "You need
to work even harder," a minister told him in Bangkok.
Thais could not
be trusted to protect their own natural heritage, Sueb decided, and
looked to the world for help. More research was done and reports
written for submission to UNESCO. But also more animals were killed
and more rangers shot dead. At around 4 a.m. of September 1, 1990
another shot rang out in Huay Kha Khaeng. The guard suspected nothing;
gunfire was such a familiar sound in this forest. If Sueb could not
realize his hopes for Thailand in life, he was determined to do it in
Today Huay Kha
Khaeng is a natural World Heritage site, a wildlife sanctuary
undisturbed by encroachment, dam construction, and auto rallies.
Deforestation and poaching are minimal compared to other forests in
Hidden After-effects of War
Story and photos : Weerasak Chansongsang
It was a
beautiful sunny morning, when 40 year-old Wacharaporn Kornkamol
readied himself for his daily chores. The cornfields stretching out
ahead of him belonged to his family for years, some of those years in
which he had tired of the efforts and rented parts out. Nonetheless,
this was his livelihood. Wacharaporn put on his field boots, and made
his way through the neatly manicured cornfields - the tractor's
periodic plowing had done wonders for the soil. He suddenly noticed
what appeared to be the first cropping of corn, and rushed to examine
his earnings. Suddenly, an explosion. Wacharaporn without his left
leg, but worse yet, without a justified explanation.
continue to claim victims today. The Srakaew Association of Landmine
Victims, together with Thailand's Campaign to Ban Landmines (TCBL),
and the Bicyclist' for Better Health Association of Thailand have
joined forces for a second year to sponsor a five-day cycling route
along the Thai-Cambodian border. We, at Sarakadee Magazine extend to
them our most sincere blessings.
Elephants and the Croppers of Kuiburi
Story by Jakkapan
Photos by Bansit Bunyaratavej
Kuiburi National Park, established
in 1990, near the Thailand-Myanmar border, was once dense jungle and
the refuge of communists. Before the communists,
there were elephants. When in 1969 the Thai government encouraged
settlement in these "pink areas" to drive away communists,
the effort also drove away elephants from their original trails.
planting pineapples around 1980. By 1995 elephant raids on the
pineapple farms had begun but farmers were willing to tolerate the
minimal damage. In 1997 the fruits suddenly became a daily meal
andfarmers suffered. Lt. Col. Sirapol, working under a royal
initiation project to rehabilitate forests, told us about check dams
and seed distribution by helicopter. With enough water from the dams
and plants from new seeds, elephants need not come into the village
for food. They are returning to the forest and the people seem more
content, concludes Lt. Col. Sirapol.
Not so say the
farmers of Kuiburi. Pineapple planters of several villages around the
national park have had sleepless nights since the end of last year.
Wild elephants in groups of 5-6 came in to eat the pineapples every
night. They have outsmarted all efforts to keep them away, from flares
to electric wire fences. Community patrol arrangements have left
villagers exhausted and discouraged.
researcher tracking these elephant for years, worries that if young
herd members become used to convenient feeding conditions, they may
never learn how to fend for themselves in the forest. A few years from
now, it will be much more difficult to retrain these elephants to
return to the wild.