By Naraporn Tuarob
In an echo of a probe last year into “illegal” elephants in Phuket, officials are investigating the backgrounds of two baby elephants in Phuket that are suspected to have been taken from the wild or smuggled in from a neighbouring country.
The two are described in paperwork that is suspected to have been issued illegally by a government official in Chaiyaphum Province.
Altogether 61 illegal “elephant birth certificates” are believed to have been issued by the official, and dozens of elephants at elephant trekking companies in Phang Nga are already under investigation.
Police from the Natural Resources and Environment Crime Suppression Division Region 6, led by Pol Col Watcharin Poosit, along with police from the Central Investigation Bureau and Royal Forestry Department officials went to two sites today (May 10) where the suspect elephants were being kept.
Unlike legal elephant certificates, the fake ones do not state the name of the baby elephant’s mother.
In Baan Ya in Thalang, they found one three-year-old male elephant called Pimai. Its owner, Thassapol LaoKom, 54, told them, “I bought the elephant from my wife’s brother and we expected the elephant to be taken by a safari company in Chalong but it was cancelled, so now we are taking care of it here”.
The other baby elephant was found at an elephant camp on the road up to the Big Buddha. This baby elephant, Namfon, is female and about six months old.
Her mahout said the owner of the camp lives near Ao Luk in Krabi, but he declined to give the owner’s name and said he did not know where the elephant originally came from. More....