Children meet Christmas elephants as rights advocates condemn show

Dressed in red Santa Claus costumes, elephants and their handlers march to a school in the Central province of Ayutthaya to hand out Christmas presents in the form of face masks to schoolchildren in the light of the latest Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand. The event is held annually by elephant camps in the province and widely perceived as a good-spirited Christmas gesture by many in Thailand, wildlife advocates have been against the practice for many years. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, a wildlife veterinarian and advisor for World Animal Protection calls the present giving an ‘incredibly stressful’ experience for the elephants, which could lead to children perceiving elephants as entertainers rather than wild animals.