Farmer, 94, throws birthday party for his seven pet elephants

A 93-year-old farmer threw a birthday for his seven pet elephants in Thailand. Hem Hemrat prepared two tonnes of assorted fruit such as bananas, sugar canes, and watermelons for his jumbos in Trang province on April 25. Hem also helped to organise a superstitious ritual for the animals, which is believed to help calm them and make them more friendly to people. The old man said he has been keeping the elephants as pets following the closure of the tourism industry due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Hem said he still wanted to show gratitude to the animals by giving them a birthday feast which he had been doing for more than 50 years now. He said: ‘The event was held to say thank you to my beloved animals. I missed it last year because of Covid-19 so I needed to do it this year. ‘The pandemic cost me a big amount of money but I will continue this business anyway because elephants are just what I love.’ Thirty locals came to the party to feed the animals including Phang Bai Thong, a 32-year-old male jumbo which lost one of its teeth while tasting all of the food on the tables. Hem added that he hopes for the pandemic to end so they could return to normal and provide work to the people living near his camp. He said: ‘I was infected with Covid-19 but survive despite my old age. I hope everything could return to normal so that we can all return to work.’