Hungry elephant smashes through wall of fried banana shop


A hungry elephant smashed through a wall of a fried banana shop to steal food.

The jumbo Boon Mee was attracted to the sweet smell of bananas being cooked with glazed sugar – a local delicacy – at a shop in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, Thailand on September 1.

Unable to resist the delicious snack, the animal rampaged through the property and wrecked the wall next to the kitchen as it was too impatient to find the entrance.

After eating five of the sweet treats, it took a plastic bag filled with five more ripe bananas to go before escaping back to the forest as the vendors chased it away.

Banana chips vendor Supa Taengthong, 58, said the elephant seemed to love his desserts as it was the second time that it had destroyed something on the property.

She said: ‘I thought there was a thief in the night but when we came out to check,  it was an elephant. We were terrified.

‘That elephant was here as well last July and broke down my rolling steel door to take some of the bananas. It seemed to love my desserts and kept returning for more. This time it wrecked the wall of my kitchen.’

No one was reported hurt in the incident and local officials, as well as staff from the Kaeng Krachan National Park, would help the woman repair her property.

It was not the first time that a hungry jumbo raided a kitchen in the area. In June, an adult bull named Plai Bunchuay was caught poking through a family’s kitchen to steal rice.

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.’

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. A similar number of elephants are kept captive where they work in zoos and are hired out for religious festivals and weddings.