ECN Blog

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Elephant Day in Kanchanaburi

13 March 2011

Following the successful debut of our Arts for Elephants project on Elephant Day 2010, the Elephant Conservation Network (ECN) organised another painting competition and associated activities for students aged 7-17 on Thai Elephant Day, 13 March.  This special celebration for a species that is so closely linked to Thailand was held in the historic part of Kanchanaburi town on the public green beside the old city wall.  It was a carnival atmosphere all day long, as children vied to win prizes in each age category, ignoring the heat, snacking on ice-cream, and enjoying the varied entertainment.  Participants were asked to illustrate the story of Porn Peemai, a tusker who inspired a 12-year old girl called Toyting to help protect wild elephants.

Before the competition began, a group of students from a local secondary school held a lively and provocative mini-drama, complete with sound-effects, in which the death of a rare pink elephant, shot while raiding crops, prompts a heated debate between villagers who must protect their livelihoods, and tourists who want to protect wildlife.  The problem is solved by an energetic conservationist who suggests that the villagers work together to protect their crops, helped by the tourists who offer to pay to see the elephants and other wildlife that the villagers help conserve.  A satisfactory outcome for everyone, except for the poor pink elephant!