Elephant stops trucks to steal trunk-fulls of freshly harvested sugarcane

Video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/03qse78fpnlcmnh/VRP6560.mp4?dl=0

A sweet-toothed elephant caused chaos when it stopped passing trucks to steal their cargo of sugarcane.

The male jumbo was loitering along the road where the vehicles were carrying freshly harvested crops in Chachoengsao province, Thailand.

Wildlife officers arrived to help control traffic in the area on January 22 amid fears the bull – which is in heat during mating season – could become aggressive.

Drivers were instructed to slow down while passing the jumbo and stay calm if it approaches them to steal food.

One truck was stopped by the elephant, identified by wildlife rangers as ‘Jaopuang Jomdue’, before it reached at the back using its long trunk to steal some of the sugarcane stalks.

The vehicles that followed drove on the edge of the road while Jaopuangjomdue feasted on its haul.

One of the officers, Sergeant Boonchoke Keawsingthong, said: ‘When elephants are in heat, they often roam around alone showing off their confidence.

‘It is best to slow down the car when seeing elephants on the road and avoid using horns as it could scare them.’

The officers followed the animal while it walked long the road before it disappeared into the forest at night. No one was hurt in the incident and the truck drivers were able to safely pass through the road.

Wildlife officials believe that smart wild elephants have honed the habit of stealing fresh food from vehicles, which provide a plentiful source of food.

An estimated 2,000 elephants are living in the wild in Thailand and a similar number in captivity, where they live in sanctuaries, zoos or work privately for hire at weddings and festivals.

In the wild, there is a conflict when they come in contact with humans who also use the area for farming and gathering food.

Elephants are a protected animal in Thailand and killing them carries a maximum prison term of up to three years and a fine of 1,000 baht (25GBP).