New-born jumbo a first for Phuket

CHALONG: Phuket finally has a baby elephant to call its own – Plai Phuket. Plai Phuket (“Plai” is the traditional honorific for a male elephant), became the first pachyderm born in Phuket, according to the experts, when he weighed in at 60 kilos in the early hours of yesterday. The youngster was healthy but shy, standing on wobbly legs beneath his mother’s stomach as people came from around Chalong to catch a glimpse of him. The sight had them all smiling. Big momma Pang Sairoong – Rainbow – was pregnant for 22 months before going into labor at 3 am near the mahout house on Soi Suksun, Baan Bangkontee, in Chalong. Dr Jirayu Nirunviroj, a veterinarian from the Phuket Provincial Livestock Office (PPLO) and the only dedicated elephant expert in Southern Thailand, told the Gazette, “After I arrived at 3:30 am Plai Phuket was born, so I helped to cut the umbilical cord and clean the baby,” Dr Jirayu added. He added that 18-year-old Pang Sairoong was proving to be a good mother. Pang Sairoong’s mahout, Prakit Endu, 37, said that a spirit ceremony was held to welcome Plai Phuket at the spot where he was born yesterday morning. “We will take care of them both and wait until Plai Phuket is one year old, then start training,” K Prakit added. Chotika Hotrapavanon, Executive Director of the Elephant Help Project, told the Gazette in December that Sairoong’s baby would be the first elephant born on the island. Elephants are not indigenous to Phuket. Trekking companies bring them from the north, and Sairoong works for the Baan Chang company in Chalong. Late last year, 183 elephants were registered with the PPLO. Vice Governor Manit Watanasen, who was among the baby elephant’s early visitors, said he would coordinate with the PPLO to look after Pang Sairoong’s baby.

Phuket News
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