An elephant that smashed through a kitchen wall terrorised another family’s home in search of food in southern Thailand this week.
The 40-year-old hungry bull named Plai Bunchuay achieved notoriety when he rammed through a concrete wall to steal a bag of rice, waking up a family in the coastal town of Hua Hin on June 20 at 2 am.
He was shooed away back into the jungle but emerged again on Tuesday night (June 27). Plai Bunchuay was filmed stomping through a family’s front yard before squeezing his huge body into the home’s front porch and eating some of the cat food left for the family’s pets.
The shocked residents heard the noise coming from outside and saw the elephant sticking his bottom through the entrance while peering through the opened door.
Terrified house owner Natthakan Charoendong said: ‘I knew this elephant, we saw him in the news so we were a bit excited and shocked at the same time.
‘He ate some of the cat food we kept on the front porch for our pets. He must have been hungry and wandered into the villages again. He’s a clever animal but he’s also scary.’
The wild jumbo finished eating the cat food before leaving the property without leaving any damage. He was seen returning to the direction leading to the forest.
On June 18, Plai Bunchuay smashed through a kitchen wall to steal food before he was shooed away by a terrified couple, Rachadawan Phungprasopporn and her husband.
They were astonished to see the jumbo with its huge ivory tusks rummaging through the cupboard with its long trunk. It even grabbed a plastic bag of rice which it shoved into its mouth. Rachadawan said her husband helped to shoo away the beast, which disappeared into nearby woodland.
She said: ‘This elephant is well known in the area because he causes a lot of mischief. He came to the house about two months ago and was looking around, but he didn’t damage anything then.’
Thailand has an estimated 2,000 Asian elephants living in the wild but there is often conflict when they come into contact with humans on roads and in villages.
Staff from the country’s National Park – the sprawling area of protected woodland where wild elephants live – believe the animals have changed their behaviour in response to the food available from humans.
Conservation officer Supanya Chengsutha said: ‘The most likely explanation for this situation is that the elephant smelled the food and wanted to eat it.
It’s not because the elephant was particularly hungry, as the food in the jungle has stayed the same. There is plenty and that hasn’t changed.
‘But sometimes individual elephants experience a change in their behaviour and character, so there’s no one factor why they would do this.
‘Elephant eating habits have also changed now that they come into contact with humans more. They have started to like the food that people eat.
‘It could also be that hunters and traps in the jungle have disrupted the elephant and it has moved out of the deep forest more towards settlements.’