The news follows a disturbing report by a regular visitor to Phuket, documenting how the baby elephant has been mistreated and used as a tourist attraction.
“The baby ele is kept in a make-shift shack down a dirt road with no access to water or food. All four legs are chained so tightly together that he cannot even stretch his legs.
“The elephant is completely isolated and alone and shows clear signs of distress. During the day, he is led by what seems to be one owner down the road to sell pictures and bananas to tourists. The owner leads him with a bull hook everywhere he works.”
On receiving he complaint, Phuket DLD Chief Manas Thepparuk led officers to inspect the Phuchada Safari camp, located in Rawai’s Saiyaun area, yesterday afternoon (Feb 13).
“We found the baby elephant. Her name is Meena. She is 2 years 11 months old, and was born at the camp where her parents still are. She is legally registered,” Mr Manas said.
“Meena’s weight is healthy, and we are sure she is not suffering from an infection or a digestive problem, and she did not have any chains on her legs. She did not appear to be abused.
“There was plenty of food and water for her, but the pen where she is kept was dirty with elephant dung and even some trash. I asked the camp owner to clean the pen within 15 days. I will come back to follow up on that,” Mr Manas added.
Mr Manas also confirmed that there was one mahout dedicated to watching over Meena, and that there were no other baby elephants at the camp.
Mr Manas said that the conditions encountered during the inspection gave him no cause to press any charges against the camp or the owner. “The baby elephant is healthy and happy,” he said.
“She is not suffering from living conditions. She does not work. She just has her photo taken with tourists and eats. She just stays around there in the camp,” he added.
Mr Manas declined to name the owner of of the camp or the mahout.