A hungry wild elephant rampaged through a restaurant searching for food in northeastern Thailand. The jumbo emerged from the forest and made a beeline for the tents serving barbecue and snacks in Nakhon Ratchasima province on May 27. The animal, identified as a 30-year-old male called Plai Duan, proceeded to sniff around the stalls so vendors started throwing some food which the elephant gladly took. Plai Duan stayed for almost half an hour before heading back to the forest in Khao Yai National Park without leaving any damage. Food vendor Jerd Nakata said: ‘We know this jumbo as he had visited the market before. He is attracted to the food here and likes eating mangoes a lot.’ Some of the customers who were ordering food from the stalls fled out of fear but Jerd added that Plai Duan was normally calm and would leave on its own after being given some snacks. He said: ‘People were terrified but he never hurt or destroyed anything during his stay. I still think it’s better to keep away from the elephant to avoid scaring it.’ Elephants are the national animal of Thailand. An estimated 2,000 elephants are living in the wild and a similar number in captivity. In the wild, they roam through the deep jungle and in the country’s protected national parks but often encounter humans on roads and in villages. However, they are protected by laws and killing them carries a maximum prison term of up to three years and a fine of 1,000 baht (25GBP).
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