From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1999:
BANGKOK, Thailand; BRITS, South Africa––
The five survivors among a group of six young Asian elephants
whom Thailand exported to Indonesia in October 1997 returned
home on December 31 to floral necklaces, cheering crowds, a
welcoming banner at dockside in Ao Makham, and all the
bananas, sugar cane, and pineapples they could eat.
Presiding over the feast were prime ministerial secretary
Wattana Muangsuk, Phuket member of parliament
Anchalee Theppabutr, and Phuket governor Padet Insang.
Explained Attaya Chuenniran of the Bangkok Post,
“The five beasts, and another, who died in Indonesia, were
sent with their mahouts in October 1997 under a 10-year contract
to help their Indonesian counterparts catch wild elephants,”
who were allegedly terrorizing the countryside in the
wake of fires set to clear brush and facilitate rainforest logging.