Meanwhile in his speech last night on television pool network, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha called on all Thais to help protect Thai elephants as tomorrow (March 13) is the National Elephant Day in Thailand.
Gen Prayut said elephants are sacred animals that represent Thai kings as well as the kingdom, according to the National News Bureau of Thailand (NNT).
The way of life of Thai people is connected to elephants whose contributions have been recognized since ancient times.
Since the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and the current administration took office, he said Thailand’s effort in fight against illegal ivory trade has been acknowledged by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
He said the government was determined to turn an elephant reserve in Surin province into a tourist destination, hoping to attract more foreign visitors.
He said European and Japanese tourists have a huge admiration for elephants.
Yesterday an elephant camp in Ayutthaya province held a grand feast for elephants to raise awareness about the importance of Thai elephants and elephant conservation in marking of the national elephant day tomorrow.
The feast was meant to say “thank you” for you elephant.
According to a camp owner, elephants had helped protect the country’s sovereignty in the past and today they help to attract tourists into the country.
Elephant is a symbol of Thailand and has played important part of Thai culture.
In the past, elephants fought alongside Thai warriors in battles to protect the country, said the camp owner Laithongrien Meepan.
But today, they are magnet to tourists, helping generate enormous revenue to the country every year.
Thai jumbos are entering another war and this time they are fighting to attract tourists as Malaysia is training wild elephants for the sake of tourism to draw tourists.
At the same time the Tourism Services Development Bureau is working to help raise standards of elephant camps in Thailand to boost tourists’ confidence in the country.
Presently there are about 150 elephant camps across Thailand and only eight of them are up to the standards.
Director of The Tourism Services Development Bureau Mrs Rattanawalai Khantijunruechai said elephant camps need to ensure tourists safety and hygiene conditions and also need to provide hygiene care for their elephants.
She said stray elephant is another concern as many mahouts elephants onto streets to make earnings.
Last month, 30 domesticated elephants were taken onto the streets by their owners.
Concerned agencies are working with mahouts to fix the problem and they are sure in two year times there will be no stray elephants on Thai streets, she said.