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In Thailand, elephants raise funds for Haiti earthquake relief

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Tibor Krausz

(Read caption) Thai elephants seek donations for Haiti earthquake relief.

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• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

Like most 7-year-olds, Plai “Peter” Noppakhao loves playing “chase” and squeals with delight at the sight of treats. He’s never heard of Haiti earthquake relief, yet recently Peter spent an afternoon with 24-year-old Plai Kacha and 14-year-old Plai Yodyeam soliciting donations for the Caribbean country’s earthquake victims.

Mingling good-naturedly among delighted camera-toting tourists in Bangkok’s backpacker district, they carried around white baskets painted with red crosses. The threesome raised 700,000 baht (more than US$21,000) for the Thai Red Cross Society’s Haiti Relief Fund, surpassing the Thai government’s donation.

And here’s the thing: Peter and his friends are elephants.

They live with more than 150 other pachyderms on an elephant sanctuary in Ayutthaya, 50 miles north of Bangkok.


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