Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday thanked visiting Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Dinesh Gunawardena for approving the return of “Plai Saksurin”, a male elephant bestowed to the government of Sri Lanka by its Thai counterpart some 21 years ago, for treatment, the Bangkok Post reported.
The Department of National Parks of Thailand is preparing to bring home the elephant, in early July using an Ilyushin IL-76 cargo plane.
Plai Sak Surin, also known as Muthu Raja in Sri Lanka, was given to the Sri Lankan government by Thailand in 2001.
According to the Thai media over 22 years have passed since Plai Sak Surin was sent to Sri Lanka for training to participate in the annual sacred Tooth Relic ceremony. The Thai Department of Marine and Coastal Resources recently received a complaint from the Rally for Animal Rights & Environment (RARE), a Sri Lankan animal rights organization, about the elephant’s heavy workload and neglect. Plai Sak Surin was found to be emaciated, with a visible spine, rough skin, an abnormal left front leg, sores on the hips, and thin foot pads due to excessive standing.
Prime Minister Gunawardena is currently on a official visit to the kingdom