Ratchadawan Puengprasoppon was awoken in the early hours of Saturday morning by crashing and banging. When she went to find out what had happened, she discovered an elephant’s head poking through her kitchen wall beside the drying rack.

The male elephant, named Boonchuay, appeared to be looking for something to eat. His trunk rummaged through the kitchen drawers, knocking pans and cooking paraphernalia to the floor.

He chewed on a plastic bag as Ratchadawan, unsure what to do, filmed the episode on her phone.

It’s not the first time Boonchuay, who lives in Thailand’s Kaeng Krachan national park, has visited Chalermkiatpattana village.

“They come to visit quite often. They always come when there is the local market because they can smell food,” said Itthipon Thaimonkol, the park’s superintendent.

Thai media reported that the same elephant had even paid a visit to Ratchadawan’s kitchen on one of those occasions, causing damage.

Dr Joshua Plotnik, an assistant professor of psychology at Hunter College, City University of New York, who studies the elephant population in the Salakpra Wildlife Sanctuary in Kanchanaburi, western Thailand, said it was very common for elephants from national parks to raid nearby cropfields for sugar cane or corn.

“In the villages in which I work in Thailand, elephants enter farmers’ cropfields almost nightly. This is a really difficult issue for both the farmers and the elephants,” he said.

Most villagers were respectful of and sympathetic toward the elephants, Plotnik said. “They are frustrated that this is happening, and really want to find solutions to stop it, but they don’t usually blame the elephants.”

Itthipon said volunteers from the local community and an officer of the national park work together to monitor the elephants, and use loud noise and other deterrents to try to push them back towards the forest.

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