Biopharm Delivered Medicines and Hand Gels to Support Officials

Forest rangers of the Khao Yai National Park are a small group of officials that have been dubbed as the “forest guardians” who protect natural resources for all Thai people. They take great responsibility to look after the third largest national forest park in the country.

Although all national parks in the country are presently closed for tourist visit due to the spread of COVID-19, the work of forest rangers has not stopped. It is difficult to guess what they will encounter in performing their daily duties. Sometimes, they may face a gang of illegal loggers and hunters or are at risk for illnesses and diseases, even natural disasters and dangerous wild animals.

Sarut Phiraksa, Khao Yai National Park Assistant Chief, Resource Conservation Department, Khao Yai National Park, told us about the situation and work of forest rangers after national parks across the country are closed due to COVID-19 that the closing of national parks since 25 March may seem like a bad news for nature-loving tourists, but it was necessary in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Looking from another angle, this was the first time that the Khao Yai National Park and national forest parks nationwide got a chance to fully rest without disturbance, allowing nature to truly recover.

In 1963 or 61 years ago, Khao Yai forest was declared a national park. Until today, Khao Yai forest has never stopped welcoming tourists. Although most of Khao Yai area are conserved forest, not tourist routes, it cannot be denied that a yearly average of 1.5 million visitors has more or less impacted Khao Yai’s nature and wildlife. Tourist use of nature trails inevitably tramples vegetation and soil, eventually causing damage or death to plants. Impacts on wildlife include disturbance of natural systems, human smell and sound frightening wild animals, and changes in animal feeding habits due to tourist violation of national park rules, such as littering, feeding wild animals, and driving too fast. All these can cause damage, injury, or death to wildlife.

Every forest ranger is still working like normal because forest protection work never stops. Their work covers many dimensions, including prevention and suppression, research, and building community relations. The most difficult and important task is patrolling because the Khao Yai National Park covers an area of 2,168 square kilometers or 1,355,396 rai, but there are 460 park officials in charge. Of these, only 250 are forest rangers divided into five groups patrolling the central area and 23 groups at the forest boundaries, working together 24 hours a day. Looking at the number, they may seem like a lot but when compared with the area of responsibility, they are insufficient because on average one officer has to take care of the forest area up to 5,000 rai.

In each patrol, officers have to carry bags, weapons, and survival kits up to 15-25 kilograms in weight. Doing this for many years can cause back pain and muscle ache. Some officers suffer from chronic back pain and have to transfer to other duties.
Therefore, medicines are very important when patrolling the forest. The medicines needed are paracetamol, pain and muscle relief medication, anti-inflammatory, and antipruritic, as well as first aid kit and medications for people with chronic illnesses. Before performing the duty, officials will get a health check. If an official is not in good health, he will not be allowed to participate in the duty.

Although officials are working hard, everyone is happy and ready to protect the forest. Having recognized the importance of forest rangers, Biopharm has provide medicine and medical supply support and healthcare knowledge to forest rangers and the public under the “45 Years of Biopharm for Community” project.

Prinya Powthong, Director of Corporate Liaisons Department,, Biopharm Chemicals, said that providing medicines and medical supplies in support of patrol duties of forest rangers and tourist first aid units at the Khao Yai National Park was an activity that Biopharm has continuously conducted for many years.

In addition to medicines and medical supplies, Biopharm has also given officials alcohol hand gels from the Faculty of Pharmacy, Chulalongkorn University, to help reduce the risk of getting infected with COVID-19. Biopharm hoped to raise spirit and provide moral support for the officials to have physical and mental power to perform their duties to continue to protect our forests and natural resources.