Thai tusker Sak Surin, known as Muthu Raja, boarded a chartered Ilyushin IL-76 cargo plane from the Bandaranaike International Airport this morning for a six-hour flight to Thailand International Airport, Chiang Mai.


The Thai government brought the elephant back after various organisations complained to the government that it was neglected at the Kande Viharaya In Sri Lanka.

The Thai government has spent over $700,000 on the one-way journey. The container cage containing Sak Surin was loaded onto the Russian-made Il-76 transport plane for the flight this morning.

Three Thai and one Sri Lankan mahout were aboard the flight with Sak Surin to look after him and keep him calm. An emergency plan to administer a sedative has been put in place in case the elephant becomes excited or panics.