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article imageUpdate: Elephants stranded by flooding in Thailand Special

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By D Scott Rosenberg     Oct 13, 2011 in World
Bangkok - While the rains still fall and flood waters continue to rise, there is hope for 15 elephants and their handlers stranded on a wall at the Royal Elephant Kraal in Ayutthaya.
Flooding over the last two weeks in Thailand has stranded 15 elephants, seven mothers and their babies, and a nine year old elephant named Nopakhao, known internationally for his painting skills, on the Kraal's wall with little food and fresh water. Elephants can eat up to 200 kilograms of food a day.
Elephants stranded on the wall at the Royal Elephant Kraal in Ayutthaya
Elephants stranded on the wall at the Royal Elephant Kraal in Ayutthaya
Elephant Stay
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The floods have so far ravaged homes and businesses in 54 of Thailand’s 76 provinces. Ayutthaya which is 76 kilometers from Thailand's capital of Bangkok has been one of the hardest hit areas. But attention to Ayutthaya's desperate situation - and the elephant's - has recently shifted to concern over potential flooding in Bangkok.
However, a media campaign begun on October 11 has helped focus attention to the plight of the elephants.
The Wall Street Journal, Thailand's The Nation newspaper and CNN International have all run pieces on the Kraal's elephants.
Even social media has helped pull people together. On Per Arne Granbo's Facebook page he wrote (Oct 13), "This morning I visited Kasersart University where a number of dedicated young people are collecting food and money for the elephants at www.elephantstay.com in Ayutthaya. People come from all over the Bangkok area with bananas, pineapples, watermelons etc. I'm going to Ayutthaya at 6 am tomorrow. We have to look after people as well. Not sure if I'll manage a visit to Ban Shang, (where the Kraal is located) but I will try."
People packing food for stranded elephants
People packing food for stranded elephants
Per Arne Granbo
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The Royal Elephant Kraal which housed over 100 elephants before the floods, was established 16 years ago. It runs many projects to conserve the highly endangered Asian Elephant. There are less than 2500 elephants left in Thailand - numbers have dwindled in recent years due to cessation of the logging industry in Thailand and deforestation.
The Royal Elephant Kraal began a breeding project in the year 2000 and has successfully bred 44 elephants. The Kraal also specializes in the care of old retired elephants with their Elephantstay program. As a matter of fact, a baby elephant was born early yesterday morning. Mother and baby are doing fine, housed away from the floods.
Thai press also reported that the Thai government owned Elephant Conservatory in Lampang was sending two truck loads of pineapple plants to the stranded elephants in Ayutthaya. Being 600 kilometers away, no one knows exactly when the trucks will reach the Kraal.
One of several trucks loaded with food for the stranded elephants in Ayutthaya
One of several trucks loaded with food for the stranded elephants in Ayutthaya
Per Arne Granbo
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Ewa Narkiewicz, Communications Director, Elephant Stay, said, "We are extremely grateful to all the press and individuals that are now helping to get food and water to the elephants. Recovery from this tragedy will be a long difficult road but we, like our elephant friends, will be able to tough it through."
Michelle Reedy, Operations Director, Elephant Stay said, "the phone did not stop ringing yesterday from press and those wishing to assist in this dire situation. As Ewa said, we are extremely grateful."
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