Kraal owners to march 100 elephants to Bangkok protest

Kraal owners to march 100 elephants to Bangkok protest

Elephants and mahouts attend an event to mark the National Elephant Day at the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace in Ayutthaya province in 2015. Their owner Laithongrien Meepan announces that 100 elephants will march with their keepers to Bangkok for a protest rally on the upcoming National Elephant Day on March 13. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Elephants and mahouts attend an event to mark the National Elephant Day at the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace in Ayutthaya province in 2015. Their owner Laithongrien Meepan announces that 100 elephants will march with their keepers to Bangkok for a protest rally on the upcoming National Elephant Day on March 13. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

AYUTTHAYA - Kraal owners will begin to march 100 elephants to Bangkok next week, starting from many provinces, and rally outside Government House on March 13 in protest against unfair elephant identification procedures, the head of the new elephant keepers club said on Tuesday.

Laithongrien Meepan, proprietor of the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace, said the plan had been agreed to by elephant keepers nationwide.

They would leave from their home kraals in all regions on March 5-6, and walk their animals to the capital, Once in Bangkok they would file a complaint with the prime minister on March 13, which is National Elephant Day.

They want the government to review the role of a national park and wildlife protection team, he said.

Mr Laithongrien said he was frustrated with the team led by Chaiwat Limlikhit-aksorn, who last Friday cast doubt on the identification of some elephants at his Ayutthaya Elephant Palace.

The team from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation seized three elephants -aged 5, 9 and 27 years - because DNA checks on samples taken last year allegedly did not match those taken two years previously. It was preparing a case for legal action, Mr Chaiwat announced.

Mr Laithongrien insisted the three elephants had been born in captivity and had not been taken in the wild.

On Monday Mr Laithongrien formed a club of elephant keepers at his premises in Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district, and later announced the elephant demonstration outside Government House.


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