Trang’s working elephants tested for illegal classification (Thailand)


Khanitta Sitong, The Nation

Date Published
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Ten elephants in Trang were tested on Monday as part of a programme aimed at preventing wild elephants from being misclassified as domestic so their tusks can be sold.

The illegal reclassification can also result in people being injured by wild elephants.

Veterinarians from the Surin-based National Institute of Elephant Research and Health Service and officials from other agencies conducted health checks on the 10 animals on the property of Suchat Buakerd in Bang Kung Moo 3 in Huai Yod district’s Tambon Bang Kung.

The elephants were treated for any ailments and blood was collected to be checked against a national pachyderm database.

The 10 elephants tested bring to 53 the number of elephants checked so far this year by the team in the southern province, home to 100 domesticated elephants.

Most of those animals, 70 per cent, are used to pull logs in timber operations within Trang, while the rest are employed in tourism and hauling rubber-tree timber in nearby provinces, said veterinarian Pattara Chuaplaivej, the institute’s director.

The checks are conducted annually in 11 southern provinces to prevent wild elephants being illegally identified as domesticated, thus curbing the ivory trade as well as elephant attacks on people and property.