Elephant moved, two others impounded in Hua Hin

Elephant moved, two others impounded in Hua Hin

Officials of the Phaya Sua special task force inspects Hua Hin Zoo in June. They seized over 100 wild animals and have been bringing them to the government's wildlife centre. (Photo by Chaiwat Satyaem)
Officials of the Phaya Sua special task force inspects Hua Hin Zoo in June. They seized over 100 wild animals and have been bringing them to the government's wildlife centre. (Photo by Chaiwat Satyaem)

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN - A special task force on Monday moved an impounded elephant from a zoo in Hua Hin and seized two others after finding they did not match their identification papers.

Such inconsistencies indicate they might have been wild animals illegally brought to captivity. 

Chaiwat Limlikit-aksorn, chief of the Phaya Sua special task force, led a team to move an impounded 25-year-old male elephant from Hua Hin zoo after learning it had been relocated without approval.

In June, the task force examined the elephant. According to its ID, the pachyderm was 14 years old and did not have tusks. But a physical examination and a DNA test revealed it should be around 25 years old with two one-metre tusks. The team then impounded the elephant but still allowed the zoo to take care of it.

Later, the team found that the zoo had moved the elephant elsewhere, reasoning that its contract hiring the animal from its owner for shows had ended.

The task force, working under the prime minister's Section 44 powers, on Monday took the elephant to a centre in Cha-am district and will later transfer it to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang.

Also on Monday, the task force visited the Hua Hin elephant village to examine a female elephant allegedly named Somying and her male calf born on Dec 5. The team had earlier collected a blood sample of the mother but its owner could not produce a valid ID for it.

Mr Chaiwat said the Department of Provincial Administration had destroyed the ID document of an elephant called Somying in September because she had died so the pachyderm at the village was definitely not it.

Without a valid ID, the animal is most likely a wild animal. The authorities therefore impounded it and its calf.

Since the pair is not strong enough to be moved, they will remain at the elephant village for at least three months before being relocated.

The Phaya Sua task force, a team under the Department of Natural Parks and Wildlife, is tasked with protecting animals and natural resources.

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