Thai elephant given to Sri Lanka lives unhealthy life & works hard

Photo via RARE Sri Lanka

Animal rights protection organisation RARE Sri Lanka urges Thailand to reclaim the Thai elephant they gave them 20 years ago because the animal is suffering at the hands of its owners.

RARE Sri Lanka told Thairath that the Thai elephant, Sak Surin or Mathu Raja, was given to Sri Lanka as a gift in 2001. The Thai elephant was requested by the Sri Lanka government so it could take part in the procession of the sacred tooth relic of the Buddha.

Sak Surin has the longest ivory tusks in Sri Lanka, which are over 50 centimetres long. He is aged about 30 years old but looks older because he has been worked hard in a poor environment. He takes part in about 30 processions a year even when sick.

Sak Surin was later moved from the capital, Kotte, to a temple in a nearby city where the people looking after him treat him poorly. Both his front and back legs are chained up when he’s not on parade, which makes him angry.

The chains are too short and Sak Surin can not move very far when chained up. His body is ravaged with wounds and his diet is poor. The temple claims they can not afford to feed him healthy food because of the country’s economic crisis.

RARE Sri Lanka revealed that the Thai Embassy in Colombo City transported the elephant to a zoo and pay them 50,000 baht a month to support the animal’s upkeep.

Despite Thailand stepping in to help Sak Surin recover from his disease the elephant’s welfare is still poor. So, RARE Sri Lanka wants the Thai government to take him back.

The organisation opened a campaign named Ask the President of Sri Lanka to sign off on the retirement of the abused Muthu Raja on the website to urge officials in both Thailand and Sri Lanka to solve this issue.

Thai elephant in Sri Lanka
Sak Surin in the ceremony | Photo via RARE Sri Lanka

Thailand News

Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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