In an eagerly anticipated endeavor, the operation to bring a Thai elephant, named Sak Surin, back to Thailand has commenced. Two skilled mahouts from the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, Mr. Torachaisit Siri and Mr. Supachai Boonkerd, have arrived in Sri Lanka to initiate the process of familiarizing the elephant with the upcoming journey. Sak Surin, currently residing at Dehiwala National Zoo in Sri Lanka, is scheduled to be flown back to Thailand on July 2.
The decision to return the male elephant to Thailand was prompted by health concerns. It has been determined that the elephant requires specialized treatments, making his relocation back home essential for his well-being.
The primary task of the two mahouts is to establish a connection with Sak Surin. Through feeding and employing verbal commands in the Thai language, they aim to create familiarity and comfort for the elephant, enabling him to adjust to their presence, voices, and scents. Fortunately, Sak Surin has displayed positive responses to the mahouts thus far, showing no signs of aggression.
Mr. Athapol Charoenshunsa, Acting Director General of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, emphasized the importance of the elephant becoming more acquainted with the mahouts over the next two weeks. This familiarity is crucial as the elephant will need to respond to commands when entering the specially designed cage used for air transportation.
The operation to bring Sak Surin back to Thailand marks a significant milestone in the ongoing efforts to safeguard and care for these majestic creatures. It serves as a testament to the collaborative commitment between Sri Lanka and Thailand in preserving the well-being and conservation of elephants.