The Prachuab Khirikhan Provincial celebrated the Thai Elephants Day in the middle of last month within solemn Buddhist merit making ceremony for 18 elephants killed in the Kui Buri National Park.
Attended by the Prachuab Khirikhan Governor Mr. Weera Sriwattanatrakul, the Deputy Governor Ms. Nuwanna Anantakitphaisal, governmental officials, students as well as local people of the province, the event was Venerable Phra Thep Sitthiwimol, the abbot of Wat Khlong Wan Buddhist Monastery, performing the merit making ceremony together with 9 Monks. The District Chief of Kui Buri Mr. Phongphan Wichiensamut said that Kui Buri was one of many areas in Prachuab Khirikhan that enjoyed diverse eco-system and complete biological condition.
A former national reserved forest, this place where rare wild animals, namely wild elephants, gaurs, bantengs, tigers, Asia tapirs, barking deer, green-face pheasant and various birds, dwell together. Invasion of investors and local people once sparked a conflict between man and elephants so extremely that many of the animals were killed. When His Majesty the King acknowledged the fact, he launched a royal project to restore the condition of Kui Buri’s national reserved forest until the Kui Buri National Park was established officially on July 5, 1999.
Following His Majesty’s statement that “wild elephants are supposed to live in the forest where there should be enough food for them. So, people should provide the animals with food resource by making small plot of lands around the forest, if the elephants come out of the forest, people may give them protection.” Since then, cooperation from governmental and private sectors has been so overwhelming that a lot of food and shelters are provided to both elephants and other wild animals in the Kui Buri National Park. With an aim to honor elephants, the animals that have been living in Thailand for so long that they symbolize the country, the Thai Elephants Day raises awareness on problems of human and elephants in Thailand. It also encourages people to love and protect wildlife and promotes eco tourism.
Apart from the Buddhist merit making for Thai elephants, highlight activities included an exhibit about history of Kui Buri elephants, an activity of the youth group, painting on the elephant’s body and a drawing contest. During the event, participants were asked to dig a moat of over 300 meters that would help protect farmer’s reservoirs and agricultural areas from wild elephants. The evening activities featured an elephant watching trip, a light and sound show on the historical background of Kui Buri and charity concert of Phala Phol, a famous Thai singer, to raise some fund for a wild elephant foundation.