“We were sleeping and woke up by a sound inside our kitchen,” said Ratchadawan Puengprasoppon, a resident of Hua Hin district in western Prachuap Khiri Khan province. “So we rushed downstairs and saw this elephant poked its head into our kitchen where the wall was broken.” Her wall already had a hole in it from when an elephant had smashed into her house last month, she said. The damage had not yet been repaired when the elephant showed up on Saturday and stuck its head through the hole.
Videos taken by Ratchadawan show the elephant extending its trunk to rifle through cupboards and drawers, knocking over dishes. At one point, it picked up what appears to be a plastic bag using its trunk, and placed it in its mouth. “I have seen elephants roaming around our town looking for food since I was young,” said Ratchadawan. “But this is the first time they actually damaged my house.”
She added there was no food in her kitchen on Saturday when the elephant came in — but it may have been trying to steal the salt stored inside.
The elephant came into the kitchen because it smelled food, the Department of National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
“Elephants are herbivores so they need minerals from salty food, which is essential for their bodies. They would try to find any minerals, and we have educated residents,” the department said.
Ratchadawan’s house may also have been targeted because it’s located next to a national park entrance where elephants live, said Prateep Puywongtarn, a staff member at the Huay Sat Yai Subdistrict Administration Organization in Hua Hin. Similar incidents often happen in the area due to its proximity to the national park and the elephants’ habitat, he added. Elephant sightings and incidents typically increase during fruit harvest season — in recent years, an elephant destroyed a house where a resident was keeping fruit produce, he said.
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