The mahout, who is of Asian nationality, carries a bag of fruit with him as he walks along the beach with the elephant and asks tourists to buy the fruit which they can then feed to the elephant.
In a 39 second video taken on Wednesday (July 27) and passed The Phuket News yesterday (July 28), the mahout is seen walking along Bang Tao beach with the elephant and the recorder asks the mahout how old the elephant is, the mahout holds up one hand and the recorder asks “five?”.
The recorder then asks which company the mahout comes from, he shakes his head.
Deputy Chief of the Cherng Talay Police Lt Col Jarun Bangprasert told The Phuket News yesterday, “After finding out about this incident I have ordered my colleagues to check Surin Beach for any signs of the mahout and his elephant. If we can find them we will ask for the mahout’s identification and his paperwork for owning the elephant.
“We will also ask the mahout the purpose of him having the elephant on the beach. After that we will contact the relevant officials,” Lt Col Jarun said.
Piyawat Sukon, who as chief of the Khao Phra Thaew Non-Hunting Area Office in Thalang and responsible for the welfare of wildlife animals in Phuket and neighbouring provinces said, “We are not currently aware what kind of elephant this is. So far nobody has been able to trace the mahout or the elephant.
“Until we receive information from officials or police on the whereabouts of the elephant we will not be able to take any action. However, if we find that the elephant has been taken from the wild it will be our responsibility to deal with the issue.
“If it is found that the elephant has not been taken from the wild it will be down to the Livestock Office to take care of the matter and make sure the elephant is sent to Lampang province,” he said.
“The beaches of Phuket are not ideal places for a wild elephant to be, I believe they should be in a nature park such as the one currently under construction (see story here),” he added.
No official from the Livestock Office was available for comment when contacted by The Phuket News.
The Phuket News were first made aware of the mahout and his elephant about three weeks ago when he was spotted on Patong Beach.
When Patong Police were contacted by The Phuket News at that time they said that they were unaware of such incidents and that they had not seen or been able to find a mahout with an elephant in their area.