The elephant, 6-year-old “Nang Chok”, was taken into protective custody at Bang Tao Beach, Cherng Talay, this afternoon (Aug 1).
Her registered owner, Boonchu Rattanadilok Na Phuket, is now facing charges of smuggling Nang Chok into Phuket.
“The microchip implanted in the elephant confirmed her identity and origin,” said Surajit Witchuwan of the Phuket Provincial Livestock Office.
“The elephant is a female called ‘Nang Chok’. She is 6 years old. She was born in Surin province (in Isan) and microchipped and officially registered in Tak province,” he told The Phuket News.
Mr Surajit estimated Nang Chok to be valued at about B1.4 million.
“She was transferred to Phang Nga province, then moved to Phuket without permission,” he said.
“We will hold Nang Chok for 30 days until a suitable location has been chosen, where we will send her,” Mr Surajit said.
“In that 30 days, we will look for other suspects who have been seen touting baby elephants in Phuket. We are aware of reports of touts with baby elephants seen in Patong and at Tritrang (south of Patong).
“We have evidence confirming that Nang Chok is the one seen on Bang Tao and Surin beaches (see story here), but I am not sure if she is same elephant that was seen in Patong and at Tritrang,” he said.
“But if we do find other touts with baby elephants during the 30 days, they will obviously be different baby elephants,” he added.
Police are continuing to question Boonchu for extra information,” Mr Surajit said.
“He has already admitted to the charge of moving an elephant without permission,” he said.