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Dollar greets the investigators who want to check his parentage

Phuket's Baby Elephant Stalk: Photo Special

Saturday, May 11, 2013
PHUKET: Two young elephants at Phuket camps are suspected to have been poached and the legitimacy of another 61 elephants remains in question after raids yesterday.

Officials led by the Natural Resources and Environment Crime Suppression Division discovered three-year-old Dollar - also known as Pimai - at a camp in Phuket's Srisoonthorn district.

Although Dollar has a microchip in his large left ear, officials aim to check further to see whether the microchip is genuine.

Owner Dhatsapon Loakam, 54, said he bought the elephant from the Safari camp in southern Patong - owned by Patong's Deputy Mayor Chairat Sukban - for 800,000 baht and transferred it to Srisoonthorn just three days ago.

A second raid at a camp on Big Buddha Hill in southern Phuket led to blood tests on a two-year-old female, Namphon, who may have been taken from a park in another part of Thailand.

While the animals remain at the camps and further tests are to be undertaken on Phuket elephants, those found to have been poached will be confiscated.

Comments

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Bt 800.000 is quite a lot of money.

Interesting timing too, selling him off just days before a raid. Almost as if someone tipped him off.

Surely someone does not spend that much money unless they know they can recover their investment with interest.

It would be interesting to know how those who buy baby elephants plan to do just that.

Elephants are highly social, intelligent and sensitive animals and breaking up families is very stressful for them. They should be allowed to live wild and free.

I hope those who care about animal rights would stop using the services of these operators. Unfortunately the increasing numbers of Chinese tourists will have the opposite effect.

I doubt there's even a mandarin word for animal rights. Watch a documentary about bear gallbladder "harvesting" in China for starters.

Posted by Stephen on May 11, 2013 16:14

Editor Comment:

I don't know that gallbladder ''harvesting'' necessarily reflect on the tourists who come to Phuket from China, Stephen. Guilt by association is something we prefer to avoid. We encourage readers to treat people as individuals. There are possibly even Chinese who visit Phuket Zoo and are just as outraged as other tourists.

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For the sake of these Elephants and any other animals on Phuket I sincerely hope I'm wrong and you are right.

Naturally every country has different individuals and one cannot slap the same label on everyone but certain issues are undeniably more prevalent in some countries than in others.

Animal rights are not high on the agenda in China but let's hope we get the more enlightened Chinese travelers who will avoid these circus shows.

Posted by Stephen on May 11, 2013 17:47

Editor Comment:

What circus shows?

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You could call Fantasea a Circus Show with elephants but I did not mean that.

Rather the practice of chaining up a baby elephant to a pole by the side of the street all day every day to lure in tourists.

I should have said "using wild animals performing unnatural task for financial gain" instead of circus shows.

Posted by Stephen on May 11, 2013 18:55

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Ed, you said, What circus shows? Have you ever been at Phuket Zoo? First the charged turists thb 500 and then they show you that we call a very bad elephant show. Are you sleeping ED?

Posted by retired roadworker on May 11, 2013 19:20

Editor Comment:

I mentioned Phuket Zoo in the conversation with Stephen. But the article is not about Phuket Zoo or circuses, retired roadworker. And I never sleep.


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