Khao Sok National Park
is one of the oldest rainforests in the world and is home to hundreds of indigenous animal and plant species
The Asian elephant can be distinguished from the Afican by its smaller size, high back, shorter tusks (not visible outside the mouth in females and some males) and smaller ears. Living in lowland forests from India to Sumatra, they live in herds or extended families of 5-20 animals, led by an old female, the matriarch. Adult males join the herd only to mate. Khao Sok's wild elephants feed heavily on fast growing, succulents, such as bamboo, consoming up to 250 kg. of food and 70-90 liter of water each day. They are also partial to fruits, and need larges areas to feed on. Most wandering and foraging is done at night. Elephants are good swimmers and able to cross bodies of water several km. wide. A 4-6 tons beast can charge through the forest at 40 km/hour. The females are extremely protective of their youngs and lone bulls can be easily annoyed.
The white elephant is the symbol of the current royal Chakri dynasty. Khao Sok is one of the few places where Asian elephants still roam wild (estimated population: 100). Continued deforestation by man has led therefore to the destruction of their natural habitat.
The Thai Tiger (P. Tigris Corbetti) ranges over Thailand and Indochina and is only slightly smaller that its Bengali and Siberian cousins. An estimated 200-250 tigers remains in the wild, in Khao Sok National Park, the onoly habitat in Thailand that is capable of supporting the tiger.
Sadly throughout Asia the apetite for tigers parts can't be satiate, inspite of the fact that there is no scientific evidence to link tiger parts with medicinal properties.
MALAY SUN BEAR
The Malay Sun Bear is the world's smallest bear, but probably the most powerful.
They have a handsome white crescent accross the chest, a short haired black coat, long tongues for reaching larves and honey inside beehives, and long claws for digging and tearing. A good climber, the bear is able to tear open a beehive in a hardwood tree cavity and are often called "honey bears".
Largely noctural, these bears spent most of the daytime sleeping or resting in hollow trees, crevices and caves, hunting at night for fruits, greens, insects, eggs and small vertebrates.
A Sun Bear will rarely weight more that 50 kg, but it has a reputation for ferocity to rival its cousin, the Asiatic Black Bear, which can weight in excess of 150 kg. Both are known to attack humans without provocation and they are the most feared of the forest animals. However, due to their nocturnal lifestyle, Sun Bear and human encounters are very rare.
They are found in the dense forest, are nocturnal, tree dwellers hunting monkeys, squirrels and birds mostly.Flexible ankle joints make them accomplished climbers and able to run head first down a tree or climb along the underside of a bough.The largest of the felines, after tiger and leopard, it can weight up to 25 kg.
Feeding exclusively on live catch, whilst in flight, Peregrin Falcos are truly powerful birds.
Due to a diminishing number of sea birds in the area, few birds can be seen in and around Khao Sok, though the limestone karsts in the area provides ideal nesting places...
The Great Hornbill is actually common.The bizarre Helmeted Hornbill is also fairly easy to see. Hearing them is also rewarding as their call permeates the jungle for a long distance.
Bushy-crested Hornbills, a very gregarious species, is very easy to see.Wreathed Hornbills and Plain-pouched Hornbills are frequently seen as well. Though difficult to see, the stunning White-crowned Hornbill also calls Khao Sok National Park its home. All of the hornbills found in Thailand are resident. Hornbills are primarily frugivorous (fruit eaters) though they will take small reptiles, insects, and even other smaller birds during molting or when rearing young.
The song of this rare creature is very individual and epitomises the last wild expanses of SE Asian forest. Perhaps the most tuneful of land mammals, each species has its own unique song, which can be heard in Khao Sok between 8-10am.The first calls are often adult male solos, followed by the duets of couples who sing to protect and reinforce their bonding with each other.Dueting is only done by monogamous species of birds and mammals, gibbons being one of the few monogamous mammals species.
Lars sleep in the emergent trees in the forest, which is a good location to transmit their songs.
The upper canopy is heated much sooner by the rising sun than the lower storeys and so when the trapped cool night air meets the hot air of the upper canopy a thermal boundary is created. Gibbons time their calls with this thermal boundary and are then able to project their songs 2-3 km.Highly intelligent (with 95% of human DNA), the Lar Gibbon, or White-Handed Gibbon, has two colourations of soft and silky coat, creamy blond and chocolate brown, having a ring of white fur around the dark face, and white hands and feet.