Elephants Stranded By Floods In Thailand

A group of elephants in flood-hit Thailand is facing a second month cut off by water on a small concrete island.

The 17 animals are stuck on a piece of land just a few yards wide at an animal shelter in the submerged city of Ayutthaya.

They include seven aged under four years old. They were too small to flee when the rest of their herd, numbering nearly 90, escaped the approaching floodwaters.

The capital city, Bangkok, has been suffering flooding for more than a month.

Pat Parinnam, a 24-year-old keeper at Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal, explained the decision to leave the younger elephants on the island.

"The big elephants are able to wade through the water themselves," he said.

"But the babies are too small for the mothers to lead out. The water's too high and the babies could drown.

"The elephants are upset. I'm upset, too. We're the same, humans and elephants."

Keepers have been ferrying food over to the remaining elephants, who are forced to stand in the blazing sunshine.

The adults among them - including two males and a pregnant female - can frolic in the water, stretch their limbs and cool down, unlike the youngsters.

Elsewhere in Thailand, water has swamped new neighbourhoods, while the government has begun mapping out a multi-billion-pound plan to prevent a repeat disaster.

The floods began in July and have devastated large parts of the central Chao Phraya river basin, killing nearly 400 people and disrupting the lives of more than two million.

But inner Bangkok, protected by a network of dykes and sandbag walls, survived peak tides at the weekend and remains mostly dry.