Licensing group promises stricter control of elephant numbers
PHUKET: One more elephant will be joining the Siam Niramit Phuket cultural show soon, and a second is likely to follow once the paperwork is in order.
Friday 13 July 2012, 05:10PM
But Phuket’s elephant licensing committee is promising stricter control over the number of elephants coming into Phuket, after it was revealed the island was well over its ‘maximum limit’ of the animals allowed.
Oddly, according to a local regulation set nine years ago, the Siam Niramit elephants should not be allowed onto the island. In 2003, a limit of 176 of the giant animals was set for Phuket. But even before Siam Niramit’s application, there were already 188 of them on the island.
At a meeting yesterday (July 12) of the ad hoc elephant licensing committee at Provincial Hall, to discuss Siam Niramit’s application, Vice-Governor Somkiet Sangkhaosuttirak admitted that no one seemed to know how the limit on the number of elephants had come to be breached.
But, he said, “We can apply the law strictly to block more elephants from coming into Phuket. From now on getting permission from the committee will not be easy.
“Possibly the committee will check all elephant workplaces and move surplus elephant back to their homes, such as in Surin province.”
After officials inspected the new elephants’ quarters at Siam Niramit, along with feeding and waste disposal arrangements, Virasak Putpairot, head of the Provincial Livestock Office, said, “The paperwork for the importation [of the elephants from elsewhere in Thailand] must be correct.”
The committee approved one of the two applications but gave the other back to Siam Niramit for correction to the paperwork.
Mr Virasat also told the company, “Please, add more signs to warn visitors about the dangers of being close to elephants.”