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Stolen 72 year old elephant returned to owner after 18 years

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Pang Yo, the 72 year old stolen elephant returns home (via Facebook Khwao)

An elephant that was stolen 18 years ago was just reunited with her original owner after a Supreme Court ruling. The now 72 year old pachyderm was stolen from its Surin home in January of 2003 before being sold off to an elephant kraal – an enclosure that collects wild elephants to tame them, used for hundreds of years.

The thief had fetched 1.4 million baht for the sale of the elephant while the frustrated original owner gathered documents in order to prove that the elephant named Pang Yo belong to him. The purchaser of the elephant in Phuket refused to return her even after the proof was presented.

A years-long battle through the legal system ensued before the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in favour of the original owner. They declared that the elephant that has spent 18 years in captivity be returned to the original owner.

The owner expressed joy to rescue the elephant from being used for any sort of labour or tourist rides, saying she is now an old lady and needs to take it easy.

The elephant was loaded up onto a truck after the owner won the Supreme Court case on Wednesday and sent across the country on the long journey from Phuket to Surin. Upon arriving at her original home, she was transferred to an elephant study centre at Rajamangala University of Technology’s Surin campus.

Pang Yo will live out the rest of her elephant life in this permanent home as a living example for elephant study. Elephants have a life expectancy average of about 65 years though Asian elephants have lived into their 80s with the oldest known elephant dying two years ago at the age of 88.

Still, after all these years her owner emotionally welcomed the elder elephant back to enjoy her sunset years peacefully.

“We may have grown apart just a bit but it’s well worth the 18 years of waiting. No one will ride her and she won’t be put to work.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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