Elephants pitch in to clear debris in tsunami-affected areas
A year ago, they were filming battle scenes for the movie "Alexander." Now six elephants are pitching in to help with the massive cleanup effort from the tsunami that devastated many of Thailand's prime tourist destinations.
The massive waves, which killed 5,000 and left nearly 4,000 others missing, dumped debris up to two kilometers (more than a mile) from the popular beaches of Phuket island and Phang Nga province a week ago. While heavy machinery works on the tangled wreckage that used to be posh seafront resorts, some areas are too muddy or hilly for anything other than four-foot drive. So the Wang Chang elephant farm in the 17th-century Thai capital of Ayuddhaya offered to send in its best pachyderms. They arrived by truck Sunday in Phang Nga and got to work immediately — after a quick shower to cool off in the tropical heat.
"The six were chosen because they are smart and can act on command," said Romthongsai Meephan, one of the elephant farm's owners.