When I was a child, I always got excited on seeing the elephants in all over Thailand. It was part of my growing up years to see them as also part of Thai culture. The Thais love these big mammals so much and would shower their love & attention to them. Usually the elephant sanctuaries are located in remote areas like Surin, Ayutthaya, Chiengrai and others. Most of the owners are hill tribe folks apart from NGOs.
A clumsy elephant got stuck in the mud, fell down & laid there for 6 days! Finally a bulldozer had to find its way there to lift up this Jumbo. It was still alive, of course.
Come every April, the Thais would decorate these elephants and bring them to participate in their annual Songkran Water Festival. These elephants provide good blast & sprays of water. So fun! I avoided the sprays as I thought its trunk might have lots of mucous in it!
The Thais even provide open-air theatre for these elephants to watch! Of course, they watched romantic elephant movies!
They believe that if a white or albino elephant is found, it must be a sacred mammal and it will bring prosperity to their Thai King. It will be presented to the royal palace as a gift. Now look at the recent report about who is the richest monarch in the world. Thai King indeed!
Many elephants are artistic and could even paint. You can buy their jumbo paintings at their sanctuary.
This was the world's first test tube baby elephant or artificially inseminated. A new born would normally weigh 90kgs and stand 1 metre tall. Their life span could reach bewteen 60 to 100 years! They don't even need to sleep much, just lie down for 3-4 hours. A sick elephant would sleep in standing position. Strange!
When times are bad, the elephants would help its owner to earn money. They would roam the streets to sell sugar cane to tourists who could feed them and take photograph! It's a win-win business... How sweet!
Once an Indian man from New York came to Thailand to lift up a baby elephant with his calfs. The baby Jumbo weighed 969kgs. Both entered the Guinness Books of Records.
They love to play football in Surin. It was a match between Italy vs Sweden which ended in a draw 0-0.
The elephants are also well trained to play exciting polo matches with players on their back.
These Jumbo mammals have many friends who often fought & protested angrily to prevent them from being sold overseas!
Look at the map of Thailand, it looks like an ELEPHANT!!
So you can understand why they feel so loved and at home in Amazing Thailand.