6 June 2024

Sak Surin, the ailing elephant which returned from Sri Lanka yesterday (Sunday), spent his first night in Thailand crying for food every 5-10 minutes, while under the watchful eyes of the mahouts who escorted him on his journey to the conservation centre in Lampang province.

Thai PBS reporters covering the elephant’s return reported that Sak Surin would stop crying and eat grass, sugarcane and banana stalks, given to him by the mahouts.

The spot where the elephant is staying is shady, breezy and surrounded with trees. He is still restrained by a rope attached to his rear right leg, to keep him from straying from the shelter. The elephant is showing no sign of fatigue and the results of blood tests are expected in one or two days.

Chief veterinarian at the elephant conservation centre, Kajornphat Boonprasert, who was among those escorting Sak Surin from Sri Lanka, admitted to being greatly relieved after the elephant arrived safely in Chiang Mai, adding that everything went according to plan.

He said that Sak Surin was quite calm throughout the flight, except during take-off and ascent, during which the engines were very loud, adding that the elephant cried loudly as the mahouts tried to calm him down.

“Luckily, he was not in a bad mood,” said the chief vet, adding that he is optimistic that Sak Surin will get used to the local environment quickly.

Members of the public can follow the condition of Sak Surin through the Elephant Conservation Centre’s Facebook page, which will livestream twice a day, from 2pm to 2.30pm and from 4.30pm to 5pm, according to Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa.

He explained that afternoons are rest time for Sak Surin, while vets treat the elephant in the morning and mahouts at the centre familiarise themselves with him.

He also said that the centre will keep the public informed about the Sak Surin’s progress with video presentations throughout the 30-day quarantine period at the centre, adding that the public will be notified when Sak Surin is ready to be visited.