Connect with us


DNA tests for two more Phuket baby elephants

Legacy Phuket Gazette



DNA tests for two more Phuket baby elephants | Thaiger

PHUKET: Officers raided two locations last week suspected of housing baby elephants illegally snatched from the wild and conducted DNA tests on the two animals to determine their parentage.

Officers suspect that the two elephants are the offspring of a wild elephant in Kaeng Krachan National Park.

Both elephants had microchips in their ears and the necessary registration and transfer forms, but officers are suspicious because the documents were issued by the Muang Chaiyaphum District Office, which is suspected of issuing fraudulent papers, explained Col Watcharin Phusit from the Regional Natural Resources and Environment Crime Suppression Division.

“The DNA will be sent to Kaeng Krachan to be matched with DNA in herds there,” Col Watcharin told the Phuket Gazette.

The search last week comes in the wake of allegations of an elephant trafficking network operating on Phuket and after baby elephants were found to be missing from Kaeng Krachan National Park.

“We launched a nationwide investigation,” said Col Watcharin.

“Then at the Muang Chaiyaphum District Office we found registration papers for two baby elephants out of the 61 documents on file,” explained

“A Phang Nga man purchased both of the elephants for about 500,000 baht from Tabsakae District of Prachuap Khiri Khan and brought them down to Phuket,” Col Watcharin said.

One of the two elephants tracked down last week was at an elephant camp on Big Buddha hill, an area that took heat during a spate of baby elephant raids and subsequent DNA testing last year (story here).

Police suspect the two-year-old elephant housed at the camp is illegally owned.

“It did have a microchip embedded in its left ear, but its registration papers were from Muang Chaiyaphum District Office, so we took a blood sample and will look for a DNA match,” Col Watcharin said.

Also at the site police found and seized nine blank elephant registration documents and several microchips believed to be illegal.

The second elephant under investigation was found at the private home of Tassapol Laokom,54, in Sri Sunthon.

“Mr Tassapol had the registration documents for “Pimai”, and the elephant did have a microchip embedded in its ear. However, the registration documents were also issued by Muang Chaiyaphum District Office,” said Col Watcharin.

“I paid 800,000 baht for the elephant in Patong in 2011. I bought it because it had registration documents that made me believe it was legal,” Mr Tassapol told officers.

If the registration documents were illegally issued by Muang Chaiyaphum District Office, Col Watcharin confirmed that his office would take legal action by cancelling all fraudulent documents, seizing associated elephants, and transferring them to the national park.

The investigation last week follows the denial by Phuket’s head Livestock officer that tourism is the driving force behind an elephant-trafficking network supplying the animals for jungle tours.

Phuket Provincial Livestock Chief Weerasit Phutthipairote issued his denial after two other elephant raids – one on Big Buddha hill and one in Phang Nga, last week (story here).

The investigation into illegal elephants in Phuket, Phang Nga, and Krabi was ordered by the Central Investigation Bureau, explained Maj Gen Sriwara Rangsitprahmkul, who led the raid along with Col Watcharin.

Maj Gen Sriwara said that elephant-trafficking in Phuket had “become critical.”

This was denied, however, by Phuket Provincial Livestock Chief Weerasit Phutthipairote, who joined the raids.

“I believe the elephants in Phuket are not the product of an illegal-trading network, because the companies in Phuket use them for trekking tours and performances,” he explained.

“However, I cannot comment any further on the possibility of an illegal-elephant trading network in Phuket [serving other purposes],” he added.

During the raid on last Tuesday on Big Buddha hill, the investigation team identified 10 elephants they believe may have been illegally seized from the wild.

Officers seized one elephant identification microchip and nine elephant registration documents, which Gen Sriwara said would be handed over to the Phuket Provincial Livestock Office.

Chief Weerasit explained that that his office would establish whether or not the microchip and registration documents were forgeries.

The camp, which police refused to name, was targeted because it has a record of exchanging elephants with one of the camps raided in Phang Nga, explained Chief Weerasit.

— Kritsada Muenhawong


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Best of11 mins ago

5 Best Seafood Restaurants in Koh Samui

Coronavirus Vaccines52 mins ago

Health Ministry to distribute 10 million vaccine doses across Thailand this month

Protests1 hour ago

31 anti-government activists granted conditional release

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Best of1 hour ago

Top 5 suit tailors in Bangkok

Protests2 hours ago

Ban on mass gatherings published in Royal Gazette ahead of anti-government protests this weekend

Thailand2 hours ago

Wednesday Covid Update: Record high of 20,200 new cases and 188 deaths

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus Vaccines2 hours ago

Health Ministry calls for a halt to criticism of doctors not involved in vaccine decisions

Phuket2 hours ago

Phuket lays on Suvarnabhumi bus service for stranded sandbox tourists

Best of15 hours ago

Phuket’s 5 most family-friendly resorts

Transport16 hours ago

Transport Company announces bus services are suspended until August 31

Thailand18 hours ago

Thailand News Today | 29 provinces now on curfew, booze ban in Phuket

Insurgency18 hours ago

Volunteer ranger killed in grenade attack by suspected insurgents

Best of19 hours ago

Top 5 Spas in Koh Samui

Thailand19 hours ago

Hemp ice cream hits the Thai market

Chon Buri19 hours ago

Chon Buri sets local order, restaurants in malls to only offer food for delivery

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8