The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has set aside a 19-million-baht budget to repatriate an ailing Thai elephant called Sak Surin from Sri Lanka next month, according to minister Varawut Silpa-archa.
The male elephant was one of three Thailand sent as goodwill ambassadors to the South Asian nation in 2001. According to a complaint by Rally for Animal Rights & Environment, the elephant has been mistreated for years.
Mr Varawut said the elephant would arrive at Chiang Mai airport on July 2 and be placed under quarantine for 14 days at the Chiang Mai Zoo or the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang, depending on his condition after a six-hour flight.
A medical team has been sent to Sri Lanka to familiarise the elephant with his custom transport cage, he said.
"I would like to express my appreciation for all kinds of assistance, especially the Sri Lanka government for kindly offering help to us," he said. "Sak Surin may take time to recover, and it is best to give medical treatment in Thailand."