Feasts to mark Thai Elephant Day

Rituals and buffet parties were organised at elephant facilities across the country on Thursday to mark Thai Elephant Day.

At Chiang Mai Night Safari, seven elephants, the stars of the safari, were treated as VIP guests with a buffet of their favourite fruits - banana, papaya, water melon, pineapple and apple, among others.

After the feast, they were allowed to spend a longer time in a natural water source in the safari.    

Safari CEO Sarawut Srisakuna said all elephant shows were suspended to allow the animals to fully rest, eat and play independently with their mahouts watching them from a distance.

All elephants at the facility were able to paint a picture, he said, and the activity would be held tomorrow so that their pictures can be auctioned to tourists to raise funds to improve the life of stray, sick or maimed tuskers.  

Chiang Mai Zoo marked the auspicious day by performing the Pakam chang (elephant ceremony) which had not been held in the North for several years but remained common in the Central Plains and the South.

The ritual is a traditional Kui ethnic group ceremony which is held to ask deities for protection before locals go into forests to catch wild tuskers.

The zoo management planned to revive the ceremony by holding it on Thai Elephant Day every year before it vanishes from the region. 

At Elephant Nature Park in Mae Taeng district, a feast was organised for old and handicapped pachyderms and international volunteers helped feed 200 elephants on the premises.

A similar activity was also held at Maesa Elephant Camp in Mae Rim with a similar number of elephants involved.

At the elephant buffet at Lae Paniad Elephant Kraal in Ayutthaya, participants got a bonus when two elephant breeders at one point stopped eating and began to mate.

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