Thai authorities have initiated a plan to return “Sak Surin”, an ailing Thai elephant currently in Sri Lanka, back home for treatment.
The 35-year-old male elephant, presented as a gift from the Thai government to Sri Lanka in 2001, is set to return to Thailand in early July.
According to the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation (DNP), the repatriation process will involve a health check, quarantine in Sri Lanka, the issuance of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora’s (CITES) import and export permit, and other required documentation, followed by the construction of a holding unit for transportation.
Thai veterinarians will travel to Sri Lanka to assess whether Sak Surin is mentally and physically fit for the journey. After flying from Colombo to Chiang Mai, the elephant will be transferred by land to the Thai Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang.
Kanchana Silpa-archa, the chief advisor of the Chart Thai Pattana Party and member of the operation’s coordination team, said veterinarians and mahouts from Thailand would prepare the elephant for his journey in early June.
Funding for this six-hour flight is being processed and should be approved within two weeks. Kanchana assures that the transportation process will not adversely affect the health of Sak Surin.
The preceding is a press release from the Thai government.