Bringing Sak Surin back to Thailand for treatment

Bringing Sak Surin back to Thailand for treatment

วันที่นำเข้าข้อมูล 25 Nov 2022

วันที่ปรับปรุงข้อมูล 25 Nov 2022

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Sak Surin or Muthu Raja is one of the three elephants that the Royal Thai Government gifted the Government of Sri Lanka since 2001. The Government of Sri Lanka transferred ownership of Sak Surin to Kande Vihara Temple to perform its duty as the carrier of the holy relics during the annual Buddhist parades.  

In May 2022, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment informed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the concern raised by Rally for Animal Rights & Environment (RARE), a non-governmental organization for the protection of animal rights in Sri Lanka, regarding the improper treatment of Sak Surin and its urgent need for medical treatment.

Upon hearing of such concern, Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately discussed the issue with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and requested the Royal Thai Embassy in Colombo to investigate the matter.

On 24 August 2022, the Royal Thai Embassy, Colombo, conducted a primary investigation and found that Sak Surin was not in good health and was in poor living conditions. Consequently, the Royal Thai Embassy, with a team of Thai experts from the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, the Zoological Park Organization of Thailand, and the Forest Industry Organization went to examine Sak Surin. The experts concluded that Sak Surin must cease to participate in the parades immediately, and that the elephant must be brought back to Thailand for proper medical treatment. Since 9 November 2022, Sak Surin has been transferred to Dehiwala Zoo for preliminary treatment and rehabilitation under the care of both Thai and Sri Lanka experts. To repatriate Sak Surin to Thailand for further medical treatment approval from the Sri Lankan side is required. The repatriation process must be in accordance with the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

In this regard, the Royal Thai Embassy is working closely and with full cooperation provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Kande Vihara Temple, and relevant agencies for the required export permit. The Royal Thai Embassy is closely following the development in order to expedite the repatriation process.

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