Khao Soi Dao Wildlife Sanctuary
Khao Soi Dao, Thailand
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Khao Yai National Park (Thai: เขาใหญ่, pronounced [kʰǎw jàj]) is a national park in Thailand.
Khao Yai National Park is situated in the western part of the Sankamphaeng Mountain Range, at the southwestern boundary of the Khorat Plateau. The highest mountain in the area of the park is 1,351 m high Khao Rom.
This park lies largely in Nakhon Ratchasima Province (Khorat), but also includes parts of Saraburi, Prachinburi and Nakhon Nayok provinces.
The park is the third largest in Thailand. It covers an area of 2,168 square kilometers, including evergreen forests and grasslands. Its altitude mostly ranges from 400 to 1000 m above sea level. There are 3,000 species of plants, 320 species of birds like red junglefowl and Coral-billed Ground-cuckoo and 66 species of mammals, including Asiatic black bear, Asian elephant, gaur, gibbon, Indian sambar deer, pig-tailed macaque, Indian muntjac, dhole, and wild pig. Although evidence of tiger presence has not been recorded recently, monitoring by FREELAND Foundation in collaboration with Department of National Park rangers has discovered tigers (the Indochinese tiger subspecies) in other parts of Eastern Thailand where they were previously thought to have been completely extirpated. Its waterfalls include the 80 metre Heo Narok, and Heo Suwat made famous from the film The Beach. Namtok Sarika is popular with the Thais.
Recent wildlife studies show that animal ranges, particularly the few resident tigers, are impacted by human activity near the center of the park. This study has not impacted the government's call for private lodging concessions within the park itself.
Around 1922 some people from Ban Tha Dan and Ban Tha Chai villages in Nakhon Nayok Province built a settlement within the forest in the Sankamphaeng mountains. Up to 30 households cultivated the land. The area was formally recognized by the government and classified as Tambon Khao Yai within Pak Phli District.
However, due to its location and distance from the authorities it became a refuge for criminals and fugitives. After an attempt to capture the suspects in the area, in 1932 the villagers were relocated into the plains some 30 km away and the tambon status was cancelled.
In 1959 The then Prime Minister of Thailand, Marshall Sarit Thanarat, Coordinated the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of the Interior to create a process where national parks could be established.
Khao Yai National Park was then established on September 18, 1962, declared by royal proclamation in the Government Gazette (Book 79, Section 89) as the first National Park in Thailand. A major role in its establishment was received by Boonsong Lekakul, one of the 20th century's most famous conservationists in Thailand. It was named after the defunct Tambon Khao Yai.
In 1984 the park was made an ASEAN Heritage Park, and on July 14, 2005 the park together with other parks in the same range and in the Dong Phaya Yen mountains further north was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name Dong Phaya Yen–Khao Yai Forest Complex. As adjacent the lands to the national park are becoming increasingly developed into luxury hotels and golf courses, acquiring land for future wildlife conservation efforts is becoming limited. Homes and residential villas have been built illegally within the limits of the protected area of the forest.Illegal logging is also a problem in the area of the park.
Khao Yai National Park has three main seasons, with an annual mean temperature of 23 degrees Celsius, though this varies greatly with the seasons.
- Most days have high rates of precipitation. The atmosphere is humid with average temperatures of 27 degrees Celsius during the day dropping to 13 degrees Celsius at night. Good waterfalls for travelers.
- Clear skies, sunny and cool. Average temperatures of 22 degrees Celsius during the day and 10 degrees Celsius at night. Good time for hiking.
- Humid with day temperatures of 20-30 degrees Celsius and 17 degrees Celsius at night.
Limestone is present towards the eastern end close to the Dangrek Mountains. Sandstone outcrops exist in the south and north of the park. Shales and schist are also present. In the South, steep slopes made of granite and conglomerates can be seen.
There are four drainage areas in the park which are vital catchments for four river systems. The Takhong River drains from the central Khao Yai area and runs in a North-Easterly direction into the Mekong. The Sai Yai system drains from the Eastern Basin, turning sharply into the Southern Floodplains and on to the Gulf of Thailand. The Nakhon Nayok river system drains from the South-West watershed into the Nakhon Nayok Province to the South. The Saraburi Province drainage system drains Westward from the far West of Khao Yai.
Khao Yai is home to a variety of animals. It is one of the few places in Thailand, where wild elephants still survive. They are regularly seen and provide a major tourist attraction. Other larger animals include gibbons, pig-tailed macaques, muntjacs and sambar deer.
Asiatic elephant at Khao Yai
Northern Pig-tailed Macaque (Macaca leonina)
The park is often visited by travelers from Isan, Bangkok and beyond. The fee (per day) is 400 baht for foreigners (200 for children), and 40 for Thais or Thai residents, plus 50 baht for vehicles.
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