CHONBURI, Thailand—Thailand celebrated National Elephant Day on Monday, honoring the beast that is a beloved symbol of the country with feasts of fruits and vegetables.
Thailand in 1998 declared March 13 as a day dedicated to the conservation of its elephants.
Traditionally, they have been used as work animals and even in warfare but in modern times their very existence is under threat.
The president of the Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Chonburi Province, where a ceremony was held to mark the day, said elephants were a source of national pride and part of the country’s cultural and historical identity.
“We are now trying to maintain those domesticated elephants and give them food and shelter,” Kampon Tansacha said. “If I release all of them to the wild, they won’t survive.”