PHUKET: Two bull elephants who killed their trainers in musth-induced fits of rage this past week will return to providing jungle trekking tours to tourists after the musth period has passed, the Phuket Gazette was told (story here).
Wittawat Salangam, 22, was killed at the Phuchada Safari camp in Rawai on Tuesday when he went to unchain the 23-year-old bull elephant Plai Por (story here).
Plai Por used his trunk to batter Mr Wittawat, before attempting to gore him and eventually crushing him to death against a tree.
In Phang Nga, 18-year-old bull elephant Plai Meaw trampled his handler Suk Sapmak, 60, to death at the Phuwara Tour jungle-trekking camp last Sunday. He then ran into the jungle with two Russian tourists on his back.
Plai Meaw was finally subdued with tranquilizer darts and the Russian mother and daughter were safely recovered from his back about three kilometers from the camp.
In an obvious state of distress, the Russian mother declined to speak to the Gazette reporter at the scene.
Waraporn Kasetkala, manager of Phuwara Tour, expressed her sorrow over the incident.
“We are very sorry for their [Mr Suk’s family] loss and we will do what we can to help them during this time,” she said.
Meaw will be kept under observation and away from tourists until it is safe for him to start trekking again.
“He is normally playful and kind. This is why we believe he must have been in musth. He will be kept under observation and will not go on any treks until we know that it is safe for him to be around tourists,” said Ms Waraporn.
Musth is a periodic condition in bull elephants characterized by highly aggressive behavior and accompanied by a large rise in reproductive hormones.
Phuchada Safari staff declined to comment to the Gazette about the death of Mr Wittwat, though case investigator Lt Chollada Chokdeesrijun of the Chalong Police confirmed that his team will not be pursuing criminal charges.
However, the family of Mr Wittawat may yet file a civil suit, Lt Chollada said.
“We are still investigating what caused Mr Wittawat to approach the elephant, which led to his death,” he said. “We are also checking whether or not the elephant is legal.”
Lt Chollada explained that Plai Por was chained Monday afternoon after showings signs of entering musth over the weekend and giving tourists rides that morning.
“Mr Wittawat went to unchain the animal so that it could return to giving rides on Tuesday. That was when Plai Por went into a fit of rage and killed him,” Lt Chollada said.
“If Mr Wittawat was ordered to unchain Plai Por, then the owner must take responsibility for paying for Mr Wittawat’s funeral and compensating his family.”
ELEPHANTS ON LOCKDOWN
Police have ordered all elephant camps in Phuket to ensure that any elephants entering musth are chained up and prevented from working as jungle-trek elephants until the period of musth has passed.
“We ordered the camp to keep Plai Por – and any other elephants entering musth – restrained,” said Chalong Superintendent Kritapas Dazintharasorn.
“This is all we can do for now. Musth is a natural phenomenon for male elephants, but we will consult the Livestock Office to learn what is the most appropriate action to take regarding this.”
Phuket Livestock Office Chief Weerasit Putthipairoj told the Gazette on Wednesday that his office had no plans to introduce any extra safety measures to prevent musth-enraged elephant incidents.
“We have no authority to arrest elephant camp owners or their staff for letting elephants in musth work. It is up to the police to press charges,” he said.
“We can only inspect elephant camps and check that the owners have all the required legal documentation for the elephants at their camps.”
Col Kritapas confirmed to the Gazette that Plai Por is expected to – and permitted to – return to work carrying tourists after his current period of musth has passed.
However, the chief of the Phang Nga Livestock Office, Thanawat Phansanit, has called all elephant camp operators to make sure they are aware of – and follow – regulations to ensure the safety of elephant handlers and tourists.
“I have also ordered the owner of Phuwara Tour to keep Plai Meaw chained up until he is no longer in musth. Also, a warning sign saying ‘Danger, No entry’ has been posted where Plai Meaw is being kept,” Mr Thanawat said.
Since Plai Meaw’s lethal rage last Sunday, Phang Nga Livestock officials have ordered that two other elephants no longer provide jungle tours, as they have been identified as entering musth, Mr Thanawat added.
“I have ordered every elephant camp to make sure that no elephants in musth are working,” he said.
“Tourists’ safety is our first priority. If any camps are found using elephants in musth, we have the authority to revoke their business permits,” Mr Thanawat said.
— Chutharat PlerinKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Phuket reports 12 new coronavirus cases, all from Patong
The southern island province of Phuket confirmed 12 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus today (Thursday), bringing the total on the island to 87. All appear to have originated in the island’s Patong area, most from the Bangla Road red light district.
The town of Patong was placed on unofficial curfew yesterday as its governor issued a public decree urging residents to stay in their home at all costs, and promising delivery of necessities to those in need to keep them from venturing out.
The details of the new cases are…
Case 76: A 28 year old Thai woman, a restaurant owner in Patong. she has a history of contact with foreigners and visiting Bangla Road. She fell sick on March 20, 1 contact is considered at risk and is being sought by authorities.
Case 77: A Swedish woman, aged 52, a tourist who came to Thailand with her husband on March 13. She has history of visiting Bangla road, although she stayed a hotel in Karon. She became sick on March 21, 2 contacts are at high risk.
Case 78: A 26 year old Thai woman, a waitress in Patong who had close contact with foreigners and visited Bangla Road. She got sick on March 21, 2 contacts are at high risk.
Case 79: A 37 Russian woman, a tourist in Patong for more than a month. She has an alleged history of partying in Bangla Road and had contact with case 49, a Ukranian man. She became sick on March 20 and 1 other person is at high risk.
Case 80: A 30 year old woman from Kazakhstan, also a tourist in Patong for more than a month, who also had contact with case 49. 1 person is considered at high risk.
Case 81: A 48 year old Thai woman, masseuse in Patong at the same massage shop as cases 32 and 62. She fell sick on March 22 and 6 people are believed to be at high risk
Case 82: A 39 year old Thai man, a worker in a phone shop in a Patong mall. He has a history of close contact with foreigners and visited Bangla Road. He got sick on March 22, 7 people are at high risk.
Case 83: A 37 year old Thai woman, worked in the same Italian restaurant, as cases 59 and 60. High risk contacts total 15
Case 84: A 36 year old Thai man, a chef in Italian restaurant, who became sick on March 30. 12 people are at high risk.
Case 85: A 51 year old Thai woman, a waitress in same restaurant. She fell sick March 25, 13 people are thought to be at high risk.
Case 86: A 30 year old Thai man, a chef in same Italian restaurant, who got sick on Tuesday. Contacts at high risk number 13 people.
Case 87: A 32 year old Thai woman, a tour guide who had contact with a group of friends in Bangla Road. She got sick on sick on March 24, 5 people are at high risk.
SOURCE: Ministry of Public HealthKeep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Bangkok Airways cancels all domestic flights from April 7
Bangkok Airways has announced today that they will cancel all it domestic flights from April 7 – 30. The company’s vice president, Tresarum Sitakalin says the flights that are being cancelled are…
- Bangkok – Chiang Mai
- Bangkok – Phuket
- Bangkok – Trat
- Bangkok – Sukhothai
- Bangkok – Samui
- Samui – Phuket
“The company had previously decreased flight frequencies on these routes and also using some of their smaller ATR aircraft instead of their Airbus 320 aircraft.”
“From April 7 onwards until April 30, we will cancel all flights.”
Requesting for a refund can be done at www.bangkokair.com/refund or contact their ticketing offices at +662 270 6699 or Bangkok Airways Call Centre on 1771 . For passengers who purchased their tickets through travel agencies, please contact their travel agency directly.
SOURCE: The Nation
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Urgent repatriation notice for Swiss and German citizens as immigration rules tighten
An urgent repatriation notice has been issued for Swiss and citizens in Thailand. According to Richard Barrow’s Twitter feed, flights are being urgently chartered to evacuate citizens of both nations: A notice posted on the Embassy of Switzerlad’s website reads…
For Swiss travellers in Thailand: Swiss charter flights from Thailand to Switzerland/update…
Bangkok – Zurich
– Good news: seats are still available for a 2nd charter on Sunday April 5 (at 13:05). To register, please send the requested information below for all concerned passengers to: firstname.lastname@example.org -> Deadline: Thursday April 2, 20:00
Phuket – Zurich
– The charter flight is now confirmed for Thursday, April 2, at 23:35. People who have registered will receive a confirmation soon.
– Good news: a few seats are still available. To register, please send the requested information below for all concerned passengers to email@example.com ->
Requested information to be sent…
1. Point of departure: Bangkok or Phuket
2. Family name, first name(s)
3. Date of birth
4. Passport number/Residence permit in Switzerland
5. Validity date of the passport or residence permit in Switzerland
6. Phone number where you can be reached at any time
• Please note that no health certificate is required to board on these flights. However, people with Covid-19 related symptoms are not allowed to travel. More information on these flights is available on our website (www.eda.admin.ch/bangkok)
A similar notise was posted for German nationals…
Due to the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis, travel restrictions and requirements in Thailand are sometimes difficult to navigate. One netizen told The Thaiger this morning that Immigration officials in Hua Hin were demanding the following for an extension of stay…
- Application form (TM.7)
- Fee 1,900 baht
- 2 photographs (passport photo)
- Copy of applicant’s passport (Data page, Visa page, Stamp page, TM6 card)
- Letter of confirmation and request for a temporary stay from the embassy and consulate in Thailand
- Proof of address: In case stay at Hotel – Letter of confirmation of stay from hotel – Hotel booking – Photograph of foreigner at hotel 2-3 pictures. In case rent a house/condominium – Rental agreement – Copy of Lessor’s ID card and copy of Lessor’s house book – Copy of house book from where you rent – Photograph of foreigner at house/condominium 2-3 pictures
- In case of foreigner own the property – Copy of a house book – Copy of Title deed – Photograph of foreigner at the property 2-3 pictures
- Map from house to immigration
- Note: Foreigner must prepare all documents for 2 copies
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