PHUKET: Provincial officials will meet with relevant authorities tomorrow to discuss ways to curb the large number of legal and illegal elephants that continue to arrive on Phuket.
“Officials, led by the Phuket Livestock Office, will come together to look at ways to manage the island’s burgeoning elephant population, which has already surpassed the maximum number allowed,” Vice Governor Somkiet Sangkaosuttirak told the Phuket Gazette.
The meeting was called in response to an influx of complaints about new elephants being sighted in Phuket, said Vice Governor Somkiet.
“In the most recent case, six elephants turned up in Kathu, but we could do nothing because the owner provided us with all the documentation proving he was the legal owner. He also had a permit to transport them here,” V/Gov Somkiet said.
Phuket Livestock Chief Weerasit Putthipairoj said in August that elephant owners are prohibited from transporting any more to the island, except under special circumstances (story here).
He noted that the problem was being exacerbated by the number of illegal elephants.
“We currently have 210 legally owned elephants on the island. However, we are aware that there are also illegal elephants here,” Mr Weerasit said.
The meeting will focus on ways to manage the current elephant population, as well as enforce measures to stop more from arriving.
“We want to make sure that every single elephant in Phuket is registered, so that we can keep the numbers under control,” V/Gov Somkiet noted.
“This cannot be done by one agency, we need cooperation from all departments so that future inspections and raids have the backing of the law.”