Stolen 18 years ago, the 72-year-old elephant Pang Yo was reunited with her overjoyed owner in their native Surin province on Saturday.
Pang Yo was stolen from Chob Riang-ngern on Jan 25, 2003 and subsequently sold to an elephant kraal in Phuket for 1.4 million baht. Mr Chob gathered documents to prove his ownership of the elephant and showed them to the kraal owner who refused to return the pachyderm.
It led to an arduous court battle that finally ended on Wednesday when the Supreme Court ordered the elephant be returned to its rightful owner.
After a 25-hour journey by road, Pang Yo arrived back in Surin to a joyful reunion with Mr Chob, who said the elephant will not be used as a beast of burden.
“She’s old now. She needs to take it easy,” he said, his eyes brimming with tears of joy.
Pang Yo has been moved to an elephant study centre on the Surin campus of Rajamangala University of Technology. It will be her permanent home where she will be a living example for the study of elephants.
“We may have grown apart just a bit but it’s well worth the 18 years of waiting. No one will ride her and she won’t be put to work,” Mr Chob said.
Pang Yo is led to a truck to set off on her journey to Surin province, where she was reunited with her owner, Chob Riang-ngern. (Video: @khwao-community Facebook page)