11 July 2024

Ayutthaya Historical Park has sent a written notice to Ayutthaya Elephant Palace, located on Pa Ton road in the historical park in Ayutthaya Province, to vacate the area within 30 days to allow for preparations for improvement of the park’s landscape.

Today, the elephants, keepers and mahouts are still providing services to tourists visiting the park, but they are reported to be somewhat sad.

Mr. Laithongrient Meephan, owner of the Elephant Palace, said he is concerned that employees and elephants will be affected by the eviction because they have been there for over 20 years and earn a living for their families, adding that 83 baby elephants have been born and sheltered there without financial support from the government.

He said tourists, food stall operators, Tuk Tuk drivers, tour guides and all the people involved in the elephant shows and ride services will all be affected, adding they all are part of the important endeavour to conserve the elephant keeping tradition of the Ayutthaya Era.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sujin Chaichumsak, Ayutthaya’s Governor, said that the park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has undergone a number of improvements of its landscape, and that the best way to settle this issue is for the Elephant Palace and the park administration to meet and find a mutually agreeable solution.

Ayutthaya Elephant Palace, or Wangchang Ayutthaya, is a top tourist attraction in Ayutthaya. It was established in 1997 and was formerly known as Pang Change Ayutthaya, dedicated to preserving and sustaining the Thai elephant species, and is famous for its elephant shows and rides.