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Muthu Raja getting ready to leave for Thailand

29 Jun 2023 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

By Chaturanga Pradeep Samarawickrama  

The ailing Thai Elephant is being prepared for an arduous journey home from Sri Lanka after a diplomatic dispute between the two Asian nations over the creature’s alleged mistreatment, a veterinary surgeon at the national zoo in Colombo Dr. Madusha Perera said.  

She said the ailing Thai elephant, known to Sri Lankans as “Muthu Raja”, is set to travel on July 2 to the city of Chiang Mai in Thailand’s mountainous north and spend two weeks in quarantine.   The 4,000kg (8,800lbs) Elephant will be flown back home to Thailand to recover from injuries.  

The 29-year-old Thai Elephant had leg abscesses that left it struggling to walk. The Elephant is expected to arrive in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on July 2.  “The Elephant will have to endure a six-hour flight from Sri Lanka to Thailand. Sending a large animal on a flight would be a big mission, and preparation is done very carefully, considering several steps,” the doctor said.  
As an initial step, the Zoological Department had made a special crate that was fit enough to be taken to Thailand with the Elephant, she said.

The crate was made according to international laws and regulations.  

“The leg of the animal had abscesses, and that made it difficult to walk. The Elephant has been hard-pressed to be moved to the Dehiwala Zoo for treatment due to its poor health and inadequate facilities,” she said.  
pic by lahiru harshana