The Phetchaburi Governor Mr. Monthien Thongnit was at the forefront of arrangements for a charity concert to raise funds for a campaign on problem solving about mutual living between human beings and elephants. The concert was held at on Sunday, 1st December 2013, at the Rama VI Military Base between Hua Hin and Cha-Am.
The Phetchaburi Governor commented on several incidents in which wild elephants trespassed and damaged local plantations at a prior press concert. The wild animals have ventured onto properties in the Kaeng Krachan area resulting in injury or the death of local people. These incidents have resulted in retaliation from the people affected.
In March 2013, a female wild elephant was shot to death in the area and in April 2013, a wild female elephant was shot and killed; an autopsy found a male baby in her womb. More recently, in June 2013, a wild male elephant was killed in a local plantation because the owner used an electrical wire to prevent his protect his plantation from wild animals.
Highly concerned with these problems, the Governor formed a working group and is actively attempting to solve these problems and recognising the importance of elephants being such an important symbol of Thailand.
This project required a budget to be established to launch awareness-raising campaigns and managing these problems. This is likely to include the involvement of local people in creating elephant ‘feeding grounds’ with employment prospects for communities and a sustainable future relationship so that these communities and the elephant population can co-exist.
The Thai Beverage Public Co. Ltd. was at the forefront of arrangements for the concert. The theme of the concert – ‘Chang Helps Chang’ related to the Company’s flagship product Chang Beer helping elephants (chang in the Thai language means ‘elephant’ in English)
Ms. Charlotte Donavanik, the Vice President of Corporate Communication from the Thai Beverage Public Co. Ltd. added that the company has a strong relation with Thai elephants and is concerned about the problems with wild elephants in Thailand. The campaign to establish ways for people and elephants to live together has already started with the launch of several activities to help elephants and villagers, particularly those in Pa Deng Sub-District of Kaeng Krachan.
The Phetchaburi Governor and Ms Donavanik both attended the concert. Ms Donavanik is herself a longtime fan of Carabao and describes the music as being “so powerful”! The partnership between government and Thai Beverage Public Co. Ltd. is likely to maintain the campaign’s stability. The concert was an alcohol free event aimed to focus the attention of the audience on the issue at hand and to avoid any crowd behavioural issues. The event also added to the celebrations of the birthday of His Majesty the King’s birthday on 5th December.
All the proceeds from ticket selling will be given to the elephant project fund with 10,000 tickets being pre-sold. Ms Donavanik anticipates that between 1 and 2 million THB will be realised from the concert.
The concert’s program commenced with a performance of ‘Pleng Choy’ or responsive folk singing accompanied by clapping in a traditional Thai style by students from Benjamathep U-Thit School, the Dee Kay Hulu and Chan Siew Ban Laem Groups. This was followed by a video presentation about Thai elephants. The formal opening included a candle-lit ceremony to express gratitude to His Majesty the King and singing of Royal Anthems and songs about Thai elephants.
Finally, the 2-hour charity concert featured another fantastic performance from Carabao, the most iconic Thai rock band which was welcomed back to Petchaburi. The hard working band showed their support and interest in environmental issues with this one-off charity Event.