Manhunt for guar killers continues

A manhunt for hunters who shot and killed two gaurs at Khao Phaengma Non-Hunting Area in Nakhon Ratchasima continued with police and park officials expressing confidence that they be arrested soon.

Acting commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 3 Pol Lt Gen Damrongsak Kitti-Prapas, called a meeting among the teams to assess the progress in hunting the perpetrators.

They included officers from the Nakhon Ratchasima and Wang Nam Khieo stations to check on developments being made in tracking down the men who allegedly shot and killed the animals.

Patrols have been ordered to carry out checks on villages located along the periphery of the Khao Yai National Park and those straddling the Khao Phaengma Non-Hunting Area covering a perimeter of 20 kilometres.

Other teams have been ordered to seek out information on the hunters from local residents.

The police officer said police believed this group of hunters was armed with heavy weaponry and had killed and sold off the butchered remains of many protected animals in the past.

At the meeting, he advised that progress reports to be made every seven days and stated that he was confident that the suspects would be found soon.

Meanwhile, the governor of Nakhon Ratchasima province Vichien Chantaranothai said a meeting with concerned officials has resolved to herd a number of gaurs currently in Khao Phaengma deeper into the jungles of Khao Phu Luang Non-Hunting Area which is about 8 kilometres away, according to the Thai News Agency's report on Nov 15.

He said the area selected was more than 170,000 rai (67,212.7 acre) in size. Khao Phaengma now is home to 300 gaurs despite it is only 5,000 rai in size.

The governor also asked the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to hasten a study to find the most effective and workable solution to move the gaurs as quickly as possible.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, however, disagreed with the idea to move the gaurs out of Khao Phaengma.

Permanent-secretary for Environment Wijarn Simachaya said earlier this week that he disagreed with the idea to relocate the gaurs because they are not a kind of wild animals which can easily adjust to a new environment.

Mr Vichien said he welcomed input from the general public on the matter as the main agenda now was to find a long-term solution to prevent the animals from being hunted, hurt or killed.

He added he would be tabling the proposal at the next meeting of Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment at the end of the month.

Three gaurs were found dead in Khao Phaengma area this month. The fist one was found on Nov 8 when the owner of a tapioca plantation was charged with wildlife hunting and illegal occupation of firearm.

Two other gaurs were found dead on Nov 12 with gunshot wounds. Police were still searching for the shooters.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)