Last week Kaeng Krachan National Park head Chaiwat Limlikhitaksorn claimed that poachers killed and carved up an elephant near the Burmese border to ''sent to restaurants in the main tourist spots like Phuket, Surat Thani and Hua Hin.''
Unlikely as the report seemed, some readers took it as gospel, leaving Phuket Governor Tri Augkaradacha today to say that he had never heard of elephant-eating on Phuket and doubted the tale was true, but he would make inquiries.
Khun Chaiwat said that the tusks, trunk, tail and sexual organs were the parts of the elephant most in demand among elephant-eaters.
However, while sharks' fin soup is still thought to be on the menu on Phuket, inquiries so far have failed to produce anyone who has owned up to eating elephant.
Veterinarian Dr Jirayu Niranwiroj of the Phuket Provincial Livestock Office said he'd never heard of elephants being eaten before, and that all of Phuket's elephants could be accounted for.
The chief of Phuket's Animal Quarantine Station, Wanlop Tonpankal, said that while it was true that the owner of an elephant could sell parts after its death, it would be unacceptable for an elephant to be killed to eat.
Dr Sak Tanchaikul of Phuket's Public Health office said every effort would be made this week to determine whether the allegation was true or not.