After a diplomatic dispute over its alleged mistreatment, a Thai elephant sent to Sri Lanka in 2001 has returned to its country of origin.
On a commercial return trip of 19 million baht (£425,000; $540,000), Muthu Raja, 29, arrived in Thailand on Sunday.
Following allegations that the animal had been tortured while being confined at a Buddhist monastery, Bangkok had sought its return.
The prime minister of Sri Lanka claimed he had officially apologized to the monarch of Thailand.
The specially constructed steel cage housing the 4,000 kg (8,800 lb) elephant was shipped to Chiang Mai along with four Thai handlers and a Sri Lankan zookeeper
Hydrotherapy will be used to treat a left front leg injury.
Elephants are revered in Thailand and Sri Lanka as sacred animals.
Three elephants, including Muthu Raja, were given to the Sri Lankan government by the Thai royal family in 2001 so they could be trained to carry sacred objects.
In the south of the nation, a temple was given custody of Muthu Raja.
Animal rights organizations assert that it was forced to work with a forestry crew in the temple and that a long-forgotten injury caused it to grow a stiff leg.
After months of futile attempts to persuade the Sri Lankan government to take action, the activist group Rally for Animal Rights and Environment (RARE), which has offices in Sri Lanka, persuaded Thai officials to take action last year, according to the group’s founder Panchali Panapitiya.
According to Ms. Panapitiya, Sri Lanka’s wildlife officials have brought “disrepute” upon their nation by not taking action. This was published by The Independent. RARE has also requested that individuals responsible for the elephant’s neglect be put on trial.
Thailand’s ambassador to Sri Lanka discovered Muthu Raja to be in terrible health during a visit last year, and Thailand had been “adamant” in requesting that it be returned, according to Sri Lanka’s minister of wildlife Pavithra Wanniarachchi.
When Muthu Raja was evacuated from the temple in November of last year, AFP reported that he was in discomfort and covered in abscesses. Activists assert that some of those wounds were caused by its handler.
Its wounds have mostly healed since it was temporarily moved to Sri Lanka’s National Zoological Garden.
The Thai king Maha Vajiralongkorn was informed of Muthu Raja’s alleged maltreatment, and the Sri Lankan prime minister Dinesh Gunawardena said he was able to “re-establish trust between the two countries” in a speech to his parliament in June.
According to comments made by environmentalists, the Thai government ceased exporting elephants roughly three years ago, according to the country’s environment minister, Varawut Silpa-archa, in June.
The wildlife division of Bangkok has stated that it is keeping an eye on Thai elephants that have previously been shipped abroad.
- TikTok: A US Judge Overturns Montana’s Prohibition, Citing Free Expression
- Ukraine War: Zelensky Argues Fortification of Front Lines must be Expedited
- Palestinians who have been Released Allege Maltreatment in Israeli Jails
- Cristiano Ronaldo is Facing a $1 billion Lawsuit Over Binance Advertisements
- As Real Madrid Defeats Napoli, Bellingham Establishes a New Scoring Record