KANCHANABURI: Motorists using a highway also favoured by wild elephants in Muang district have been warned they face up to 10 years' imprisonment and a million baht fine if they hit and injure one of the giant animals, and wildlife authorities will strictly enforce the penalties.
The warning follows a number of recent collisions resulting in the severe injury or death of wild elephants.
Paitoon Inthabut, chief of Salak Phra Wildlife Sanctuary, said on Thursday that 35 signs warning of wild elephants crossing the road had been posted along the 15-kilometre section of Highway 1399 between tambon Wang Dong and tambon Chong Sadao.
With so many warnings posted, motorists could not make the excuse they were unaware of the presence of wild elephants along that section of highway or the legal penalties for hitting one, Mr Paitoon said.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment had ordered the wildlife sanctuary office to intensify measures to protect wildlife, he said.
"If motorists break the speed limit and hit a wild elephant, they will be prosecuted," Mr Paitoon said.
He said the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act provided for a prison term of up to 10 years and/or fine of one million baht if a wild elephant was killed or injured by a motor vehicle, whether intentionally or not, under the same act, the offending motorist would also have to pay hundreds of thousands of baht in compensation for each harmed elephant.
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