In celebration of National Elephant Day on March 13, Maesa Elephant
Camp held a Khantok and rice-offering ceremony, chaired by Wichai Srikwan,
permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior, and Wibun Sa-nguanpong, the
now former governor of Chiang Mai. The aim of the ceremony was to make merit
for the preservation of the species.
Kalmapijit (left), the owner of Mae Sa Elephant Camp, and Vichai Srikwan
(right), the permanent secretary for the Ministry of Interior, look on
during the elephant camp celebrations.
A grand elephant parade was held, together with demonstrations of elephant
painting and elephant football. Project, knowledge and recreational booths
were set up, manned by students from CMU’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,
and a giant screen showed elephant-related videos, including the biology of
the species and their characteristics.
Thailand’s National Elephant Day was inaugurated in 2005, to celebrate the
giant pachyderms’ recognition as the kingdom’s national animal, and its
place in Thai traditions. Further aims were the preservation of both
domestic and wild elephants and their diminishing natural habitat, and the
promotion of awareness amongst the Thai people of the need to protect and
take care of the species.
Miss Thailand, Sujira Aroonpipat (left) and Phatteera Kalmapijit celebrate
National Elephants Day at the Airport Plaza event.
Dr. Nikorn Thongthip, a lecturer at Kasetsart University’s Faculty of
Veterinary Science, Sithidet Mahasawangkul, veterinarian at the Thai
Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang and veterinarians from Chiang Mai
University issued a press release concerning the progress of the Thai
Elephant Descendant Project, which recently announced a successful
impregnation using frozen sperm, after cross-cooperation with experts at
various Thai universities. The successful experiment took place at the
Lampang centre, using sperm which had been stored in the frozen state for 20
Research is continuing to expand in the field of cross-breeding in order to
strengthen the genetic inheritance of the species, at present weakened by
in-breeding in domestic elephants.
movie star Oen Rangsit adds the finishing touches to one of the elephant
At the Lampang centre itself, a celebration was also held, chaired by the
then Lampang governor, Amorphan Nimanant, since transferred to the post of
Chiang Mai Governor. The centre’s elephants were given a one-day holiday,
with no shows being performed, and a refreshing bath.
The celebrations continued at Chiang Mai’s Airport Plaza with an exhibition
of ten decorated elephants made from ‘elephant dung paper’. Ranging from 2
feet to 6 feet tall, the elephants were intended as lanterns, each with a
number of light fittings placed inside them.
National celebrities, movie stars and local celebrities had been invited to
decorate the lanterns, with former Miss Thailand, Sujira Aroonpipat, and
Thai film star, Oen Rangsit, putting the finishing touches to their designs
in front of an appreciative audience at the opening ceremony, which was
performed by TAT’s director, Chalermsak Suranant.
The event was designed to raise awareness of elephant conservation in
Thailand, and to this effect various booths were set up, including one
showing the work of the Lampang Elephant Hospital. The elephant lanterns
will be on display until the end of March after which time they will be
auctioned, with the funds raised being donated to the Elephant Conservation
Centre and Anchalee Kalmapijit’s ‘Hug Elephant Club’.
Sacred threads are tied around the elephants’
as a blessing to Thailand’s national animal.
Huge bunches of bananas and tonnes of sugar cane
were on the menu.
Elephants tuck in to a variety of fruit at a
buffet laid out for them
on National Elephant Day at Maesa Elephant Camp.
More than 70 elephants took part in the
which have been held since 1998.