A team of veterinarians and experts will be sent to Sri Lanka next month to prepare for the return of Sak Surin, an ailing and ageing Thai elephant, to Thailand for medical treatment and physical rehabilitation.
The team, which will visit from June 6-9, will be responsible for the elephant’s health to make sure it is ready for the journey home. sadi Jatuporn Burutphat, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.
He said the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP) would work on issues including paperwork to comply with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), and build a special enclosure for moving Sak Surin.
He said the elephant would be flown back on an Ilyushin IL-76 plane from Colombo to Chiang Mai airport, and then moved to an elephant hospital in Lampang.
The ministry has been working on a plan to bring home Sak Surin, originally gifted to Sri Lanka in 2001 as a goodwill ambassador but then moved on multiple times, after an animal rights organisation reported last year that the pachyderm had been mistreated by its new handlers.
Sri Lanka-based Rally for Animal Rights and Environment (Rare) said the elephant's limbs had been restrained with chains that caused injuries all over its body.