Phuket DLD Chief Manas Thepparuk told The Phuket News that his officers returned to inspect the Phuchada Safari camp, located in Rawai’s Saiyaun area, last week.
The camp owner last month was given 15 days to clean the area where a 2-year-old baby elephant is kept after an inspection prompted by allegations that the baby elephant had suffered maltreatment at the camp. (See story here.)
The return to the camp followed the Phuket DLD receiving photos and videos of the baby elephant while still at the camp recently after it was born, Mr Manas explained.
The infant elephant was restrained with chains to all four of its legs, preventing it from walking any distance. The baby elephant also had wounds on its head that appeared to have been inflicted by a mahout’s bullhook.
Chief Manas said that his officers last week interviewed 50-year-old Somsak Timtong, the mahout responsible for looking after the baby elephant Meena, who is now 2 years and 11 months old.
“He said the wounds on the baby elephant’s head were self-inflicted by Meena. She was naughty and hit her head on a corner of the fence. He said that it did not happen from a bullhook,” Mr Manas told The Phuket News.
“Mr Somsak also said that Meena was chained by only two legs, not four. This was done when she was being naughty. Most of the time, the baby elephant was free to walk around, not chained,” he added.
Mr Manas explained that as his officers had no way of refuting the explanations given, his officers were unable to press any charges over animal abuse, despite the evidence provided.
“I made an official record of this inspection and we warned Mr Somsak that he must not use a bullhook and chains. If he does, he will be charged,” Mr Manas confirmed.
“I also asked them to improve the shelter with smooth materials to prevent any further harm to the elephant. When this is done this will be a much better shelter for the elephant to rest,” he added.