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article imageThailand captivated by sacred white elephant, $200,000 reward

By R. C. Camphausen     May 5, 2013 in World
Phetchaburi - An infrared camera appears to have recorded the first image of the albino elephant calf that's being sought since almost a month. Thai people regard a white elephant as sacred, bestowing prosperity and power. Capturing the animal will be rewarded.
The online version of Thailand's The Nation has published an infrared photograph of what seems to be the sought after and extremely rare white (albino) elephant.
Rumors of the young albino calf had been circulating since April 10, after which Thai authorities set up cameras in the Kaeng Krachan National Park to determine whether a white elephant has actually been born. In Thailand, a white elephant is not merely a unique animal, but is regarded as sacred. Traditionally, such animals are also regarded as the property of the monarch; and if found, the elephant will be presented to the Royal Court.
The importance attached to such an occurrence can be judged by the fact that a reward of 6 million Baht (more that $200,000) has been promised for a person or groups who captures the animal; alive of course.
Considering the (lack of) quality of the single known image yet, Chote Trachoo, the permanent secretary of the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, has stated that more and clearer images will be needed to verify that this elephant is actually an albino. Several artificial 'salt licks' have meanwhile been created in the hope to lure the elephant and have the nearby camera's record the animal. The heavy media presence in the park has by now been restricted in order to give the herd more quiet and more room.
More about Thailand, Elephant, Albino, white elephant, White
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