While Elephants are revered by the local people of Thailand they are also used as beasts of burdens. In the past, it was to help fight battles. Today, these majestic animals are extensively utilized to help carry wood for the logging industry. It is therefore, nice to hear that on National Elephant Day the mighty mammals are treated like the royalty they are, and served with meals fit for a king.
One of the biggest celebrations took place at the Pattaya Resort in Thailand's Chonburi Province. Fifty-two elephants, some donned in saffron attire, arrived bright and early for the big day. Each was first blessed with holy water by a senior mahout or professional elephant rider and then led to the grand feast, which comprised of an unlimited supply of their most favorite treats - bananas, dragon fruits, pineapples, assorted melons, apples and the list goes on and on! The elephants ate till they were satiated before trudging back with their owners, for a good night's rest.
Though called National Elephant Day, the festivities that took place on March 13th this year, stretch out for an entire week. Besides providing a well-deserved treat and break for the hard-working animals, they are also aimed to raise awareness about the mammal's dwindling population. One smart elephant even helped convey the message by painting a dead elephant and the words 'Don't kill me', right beside it.
And dire as it may sound, it has a sad ring of truth to it. That's because since the 1900's the number of elephants in Thailand have gone from over 100,000 to just 3,000- 4,000, thanks to the destruction of their natural habitat and illegal poaching.
Asian Elephants are not the only ones that are in trouble. African elephants are facing the same fate. Hopefully, the public and officials will come together and save this mighty mammal from disappearing completely, from the wild.
Resources: Chinadaily.com, africanpoint.net, dailymail.co.uk