We're going to need A LOT more food! 52 Thai elephants celebrate national day in their honour with all-you-can eat buffet
By Sara Malm
Elephant fans have gathered in Thailand to celebrate the annual National Elephant Day honouring the tusked beasts.
In Pattaya resort, Chonburi province, 52 elephants were treated to an all-you-can-eat fruit buffet to mark the day.
A senior mahout, the Thai name for a professional elephant rider, blessed the animals with holy water before the annual event at the resort.
Celebration: Elephants enjoy an all-you-can-eat fruit buffet held in honour of the resort's 52 elephants on National Elephant Day in Pattaya, Chonburi province
Events will be held all week in order to draw attention to the efforts to save the species and protect their shrinking habitats in Thailand.
Over the past decades Thailand has seen a sharp decline in wild animals, currently estimated at less than 3,000.
Yesterday the U.S. ambassador to Thailand, Kristie Kenney, called on the nation's government to prioritise the problem of poachers targeting elephants in the wild.
Ms Kenney said the Thai government needs to issue clear-cut rules and regulations in order to save the endangered species, Pattaya Mail reported.
Fruity honours: National Elephant Day falls on the 13th March every year and is sees the popular animal honured in events across Thailand
Sharing is caring: The Pattaya elephants went to town on their buffet as their carers looked on
Bow down: A Thai senior mahout splashes holy water blessing some of the 52 elephants during the religious ceremony in Pattaya
Raising awareness: A 10-year-old female Thai elephant uses its trunk to create a painting depicting a shot dead elephant with Thai words reading 'Stop Killing Me' in Pattaya
Visiting an Elephant Conservation Centre in Kanchanaburi province, Ms Kenney said it was a 'good sign' that Prime Minister Yinkluck Shinawatra had pledged to take action against ivory trade, but that further regulations to protect elephants needed to be 'urgently addressed'.
The Asian elephant can be found across Asia from India to Borneo. There are three subspecies spread across Asia: the Sumatran, Sri Lankan and the Indian elephant.
It is smaller in size than it's African relative and has been listed as an endangered species since 1986.
The biggest threats against its population is the destruction of the Asian elephant's natural habitats from expanding populations and infrastructure, as well as poaching.
It's my party: An elephant gets his trunk on the treats offered at Khao Kheow Open Zoo in Chonburi province, east of Bangkok
Free for all: The Khao Kheow Open Zoo resident was soon joined by his elephant pals - and a couple of buffalos - at the table
Family gathering: Elephants are given treats at Mae Sa elephant camp in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand on National Elephant Day
Beast feast: The animals at Mae Sa elephant camp were paraded in front of international tourists and Thai visitors to raise awareness about the elephant's plight in Thailand
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Thai Elephant Day
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