Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Elephant group attacks taskforce over DNA tests, seizures

THE AYUTTHAYA Elephant Palace & Royal Kraal plans to lead elephants from across the country to Bangkok on National Thai Elephant Day to demand that the Phaya Suea, or “Tiger King”, taskforce is disbanded.

Laithongrien Meephan, owner of the elephant palace and president of the Thai Elephant Club, said that if Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha ignored their demands on March 13, they would bring elephants to various sites across the country in protest

Laithongrien presided over a meeting of representatives from various elephant camps from across the country, which resolved to establish a club for “anti-corruption, animal rights protection, promotion for National Parks Department reform and the eradication of evil”.

Most of the participants were dissatisfied with the Phaya Suea team’s work, which included checking the state elephant DNA bank and the seizure of elephants whose characteristics did not match identification documents.

They claimed the department’s DNA checks had flaws, which they believed to have stemmed from a problem within the agency.

State agencies were urged to perform their own internal probes and reveal information about elephant DNA test results for the years 2014 and 2016 as well as data about the agency’s budget.

They also wanted authorities to check the accuracy of elephant identification documents. The group said they would ask Prayut to invoke Article 44 of the interim charter to enforce the demands.

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