Ailing Sak Surin, the male elephant gifted to Sri Lanka in 2001 will be brought back to Thailand for medical treatment on July 2, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa.
A team of veterinarian and mahouts were sent to prepare the elephant’s health for the eight-hour trip. A special cage, 2.10 metres wide, 6.60 metres long and 3.02 metres high was ordered to move the jumbo.
The elephant is being initially treated at Dehiwala Zoo in Colombo. He will be flown back from Colombo to Chiang Mai Airport together with two vets and two mahouts. The trip takes about six hours. Sak Surin will be then moved to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang for medical treatment and rehabilitation.
The central budget of 19 million baht was approved by the government to bring Sak Surin back to Thailand, he said.
The male elephant is one of the three elephants that the Thai government gave to Sri Lanka in 2001. The Sri Lankan government assigned the Kande Vihara temple to keep Sak Surin and use it to parade Buddha relics in annual Buddha relics cerebrations in Sri Lanka.
The Rally for Animal Rights and Environment (RARE), an animal protection organization in Sri Lanka, last year complained that the Sak Surin elephant was heavily used and was not treated properly. The organization urged for the immediate medical treatment of the elephant.
The Thai embassy in Colombo brought Thai veterinarians and experts to check the elephant in Sri Lanka. They said that it should be suspended from work and sent back to Thailand for treatment. (TNA)