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Elephant Polo in Thailand

By: RTV/CBS
By: RTV/CBS

The annual charity event not only raises funds to help with elephant's welfare - it provides the animals with a nice break from their working lives. (Courtesy: RTV/CBS)

The annual charity event not only raises funds to help with elephant's welfare - it provides the animals with a nice break from their working lives. (Courtesy: RTV/CBS)

More than fifty elephants and a team of Thailand's famous transgender "lady boys" took part in elephant polo in the seaside town of Hua Hin, in Thailand on Thursday (August 29).

The day started with monks blessing the elephants by spraying them with water, followed by several polo matches and a fruit buffet as a treat for the sporty elephants.

The annual charity event not only raises funds to help with elephant's welfare - it provides the animals with a nice break from their working lives.

"They're street elephants or working elephants. Normally they're in camps. They come here and basically they have a week's holiday in Hua-Hin. They're coming here and they're getting a check-up - we make sure they're really healthy," said organizer Tim Boda.

The highlight of the day was a match between teams Tiffany and Rueang Chang. Wirithorn Niriphanpimon the captain of Miss Tiffany, team of lady boys, explained though it's not as easy as it looks: "When I want to hit the ball, I cannot swing. The stick is heavy and the ball didn't go that far."
In the end team Rueang Chang defeated team Tiffany for 10-3.

Three elephants are allowed on the 100 by 60 meter (328ft by 196ft) ground with two people on each elephant - a player and a "mahout" or elephant trainer.

The elephants are not allowed to lie in front of the goal posts or use their trunks to catch the ball, if they do either, it's considered a foul and earns the opposing team a free hit.

Elephant polo in Thailand was first launched in Hua-Hin in 2001, and the tournament moved to the golden triangle in 2006.

The event took place in Hua-Hin, a resort town in Thailand based 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of Bangkok.

It's due to continue until September 1.


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