Livestock officers seized 4-year-old “Namwan” at the “Mai Khao Mart”, near Mai Khao Plaza at the northern end of Phuket, yesterday afternoon (Aug 3) after a tip-off from undercover police.
“When officials arrived we found the mahout with Namwan asking tourists to have their photo taken with the elephant,” said Surajit Witchuwan of the Phuket Provincial Livestock Office.
“We don’t know where Namwan was born; we are still checking details on the microchip,” Mr Surajit added.
“However, Namwan’s owner, Suwatchai Kamthip, has admitted to bringing her from Phang Nga to Phuket without a permit,” he said.
Mr Surajit estimated that Namwan was valued at about B1.8 million.
“We will hold Namwan for 30 days in quarantine while a suitable location for her to be moved to is chosen,” he added.
Mr Surajit said he did not believe Namwan was the elephant reported by tourists at Patong and Tritang beaches.
At last report, livestock officials and police are still trying to track down the baby elephant reported at those locations.
“We’re still investigating those reports,” Mr Surajit said.
Namwan is the second elephant to be taken into custody from photo touts this week.
On Monday (Aug 1), livestock officials and police seized 6-year-old “Nang Chok” from touts at Bang Tao Beach in Cherng Talay. (See story here.)