Thai tribespeople hold ceremony with elephants to pray for bountiful rice harvest

Thai tribespeople held a religious ceremony with elephants to ask for a bountiful rice harvest amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Video shows leaders from the Dara Ang hill tribe praying for abundant crops in Chiang Mai province on Sunday November 28.

Dancers in colourful traditional outfits also performed during the ceremony after which three ‘auspicious’ elephants kneaded rice in the field.

The 39-year-old bull named Neung nga yao, 17-year-old Tongtawee, four-year-old Khunseuk, and other baby elephants together used their body weight to press the rice. The method was used by working elephants before machines replaced them.

Maesa Elephant Camp Executive Anchalee Kalmaphichin organised the event asking for a rich supply of rice to feed the camp’s elephants.

Since the pandemic started, the Mae Sa elephant camp has suffered more than 25 million THB (750,000 USD) in losses due to the absence of tourists. The camp has faced growing expenses, with elephants to feed and no income from holidaymakers

Anchalee said: ‘I want everyone to turn their attention to elephants because Covid-19 had a significant impact on the elephants. Hundreds of them had to starve until their bodies turned thin.

‘These elephants need food that is equivalent to 10 per cent of their body weight, and each of them weighs from 1-3 tonnes.’