Elephants embrace Santa, coronavirus masks in Thailand

Christmas and Thailand's love of elephants mixed immediately when 4 of the enormous creatures dressed as Santa turned up at a faculty simply exterior Bangkok, full with large coronavirus masks.

Excited youngsters from Jirasat Wittaya School in Ayutthaya, an hour's drive from the capital, sang Christmas carols and lined as much as have their images taken with the animals in the annual custom.

The elephants, Sri Mongkon, 14, Sri Raya, 6, Peter, 15, and King Kaew, 18, used their trunks to carry baskets of face masks to the children and motorists exterior the varsity.

English and science trainer Brett Baxter mentioned the occasion introduced a particular form of Christmas spirit coupled with a flavour of Thailand.

"It's fantastic for the children. It mixes two cultures together. It's not just about Santa Claus… the culture of Thailand is based around elephants," he mentioned.

Ayutthaya, the previous capital of Siam, the nation now often called Thailand, is taken into account the birthplace of the dominion's Catholic group.

European Catholic missionaries constructed a church on the banks of the Chao Phraya River three centuries in the past.

Ittipan Paolamai, the supervisor of Ayutthaya's elephant palace, the place the animals are cared for, mentioned the varsity go to had been held for 17 years.

"This year due to the pandemic as well as the recent outbreak, we used this opportunity to raise public awareness about the spread of Covid-19," he instructed AFP.

Thailand, a rustic of 70 million folks, has registered greater than 5,700 coronavirus infections and in the previous week there was a spike of greater than 1,000 circumstances linked to an outbreak at a Thai seafood market.

But not everybody feels the Christmas faculty go to is a wholesome custom.

Jan Schmidt-Burbach, a wildlife veterinarian and adviser for World Animal Protection, mentioned bringing elephants to a college "for these kinds of public stunts is quite questionable and not acceptable". 

"Children will perceive elephants as entertainers and clowns rather than the wild animals they biologically are," he instructed AFP.

The expertise will be traumatic for the animals, he added, and there was all the time the potential for accidents.

"The elephant handler has to make sure he can control the elephant… Elephants can get out of control and hurt and sometimes even kill people."

based mostly on web site supplies www.rte.ie

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