A call was made yesterday to involve the Department of Special Investigations and the Tourism Ministry in halting the illicit trafficking trade.
With tourism officials concerned that the surge in passenger visits to Phuket could make the island unsustainable, the number of elephants is also causing similar worries about overpopulation.
Juvenile elephants have probably been poached from the jungle and stolen from their mothers for use in tourism on Phuket, a meeting heard yesterday at the Phuket City Council offices in the island's administrative heart.
Residents close to elephant trails on Phuket have been lodging complaints about polluted water and bad smells as Phuket's elephant numbers continue to grow to meet tourism demands.
''We wanted to put a ceiling on the elephant population of Phuket at 200 but there are now 216,'' said Phuket Lifestock Office Director Verasit Putdhipiroj.
''Elephants, especially young ones, now bring big money so smugglers are difficult to discourage.''
Earlier this year, detectives pounced as three elephants were trucked onto Phuket in the middle of the night, with the smugglers equipped with false paperwork.
Today's raids looking for seven smuggled animals are set to take place at Kamala, Rawai and Patong.
Owners of elephants in Phuket's 26 camps have been warned to declare and register their animals before September or face prosecution.
The rapid growth of numbers of elephants on Phuket because of the benefits to be gained had triggered ''big problems,'' including increased pollution, said Khun Verasit.
Young elephants are especially appealing and complaints have been made about the tethering of juveniles outside Phuket restaurants and shopping strips.
According to officials at yesterday's meeting, there are 16 camps and 153 animals in the Phuket City (muang) district, five camps and 48 elephants in Kathu, and five camps and 15 creatures in Thalang.