Khao Yai threatened by highway project

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    Martin W
    Participant

    From an article that appeared in Bangkok Post (now unlinkable?), re threat facing a key national park in Thailand.

    Quote:
    A top wildlife official yesterday slammed the Highways
    Department’s road improvement project in Khao Yai
    national park, saying it severely threatens Thailand’s
    newest natural world heritage site. ”This is a
    destructive project,” said National Parks, Wildlife
    and Plant Conservation Department chief Damrong Pidej.
    ”We have repeatedly asked the department to revise
    the project, but they insist on going ahead with it.”

    Under the plan, highway 304 through the park is to be
    widened from two to four lanes to facilitate transport
    between Pak Thong Chai district in Nakhon Ratchasima
    and Kabin Buri district in Prachin Buri. Built decades
    ago, the highway is the only shortcut between the
    Northeast and the Eastern regions.

    Mr Damrong said the road project would tear apart the
    forest complex and seriously damage wildlife habitat.

    Many wild animals had been struck by cars and killed
    on this road, he said, and widening the road would
    only worsen the situation.

    The ongoing construction had adversely affected the
    ecological system, with many wild animals, including
    deer and reptiles, killed by heavy machinery working
    on the project, Mr Damrong said.

    ”It is a great shame that we cannot protect this
    world natural heritage site from destructive
    activities,” he said.

    The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations
    Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation last
    year designated the Dong Phaya Yen-Khao Yai forest
    complex as a natural world heritage site for its rich
    biological resources and rare tropical fauna and
    flora.

    Nisakorn Kositratna, secretary-general of the Office
    of National Resources and Environmental Policy and
    Planning, said the Highways Department was not
    required to conduct an environmental impact study of
    the highway 304 project because the work was taking
    place on an existing road.

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