On May 26, 1998, the Thai government officially declared Chang Thai Day, or National Elephant Day, in Thailand. Elephants, the national animal of Thailand, have been celebrated and honored on March 13th every year since. They have elephant banquets, elephant shows, and, of course, traditional blessing ceremonies throughout the country.

The Thai people have historically had an almost symbiotic relationship with elephants. Elephants played a significant role in transportation, labor and even in battle over the years – which led to Thailand being one of the most well developed countries in SE Asia.

Elephants and their habitats are now threatened in Thailand (in some parts of the world, even considered endangered) because of climate change, habitat invasion, hunting and other factors. In the past 100 years, the number of elephants in Thailand has been reduced from over 100,000 to 2,00-3,000 wild elephants and approximately 2,700 domesticated elephants. A startling decrease by all accounts.

The good news for elephants in Thailand is that they are revered. The purpose of Chang Thai Day is to celebrate their significance and reinforce their cultural importance. The annual day of celebration promotes awareness as well as elephant and habitat conservation – which have become a much-discussed theme for travelers and conservationists worldwide.

In 2016 I had the great pleasure of spending an entire day with elephants at two different elephant camps in Thailand. I will write more about how profoundly impacted I was by these amazing creatures in the next couple of weeks! Truly, I was touched in a way that I had not imagined. I look forward to sharing that experience with you soon!

When you are ready to visit Thailand, let us know. We’d be thrilled to help you and your family experience the Thailand we know and love!

All my best,

Bambi Wineland is the mother of two internationally adopted children, a traveler, the Founder and CEO of Motherland Travel. Motherland Travel designs Heritage Journeys for families with internationally adopted children. The emphasis of these Heritage Journeys is on family bonding, building self-esteem and cultivating pride in a family’s multi-cultural heritage. Read more about her here >> http://motherlandtravel.com/

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