CHERNG THALAY: “Jintana”, a magnificent 30-year-old cow from the Lagoon Elephant Trekking Club, was declared “Phuket’s healthiest elephant” and given an award and cash prize by Phuket Governor Charnchai Soontharamut in a ceremony held at the Dusit Laguna Resort on Thursday night. The occasion was organized by the Elephant Help Project, a charity created to promote and oversee the well-being of the island’s elephants. The quest to find the healthiest elephant took over a month. Two experts from the national Livestock Department toured over 40 elephant camps, observing and examining over 150 pachyderms. They then joined with local veterinarians to form a judging committee, assessing the elephants using a wide spectrum of criteria. The second prize, presented by Laguna Resorts & Hotels’ General Manager James Batt, went to Baan Chang Safari Group for their 40-year-old cow “Pisamai”. Mark van Ogtrop, general manager of the Dusit Laguna and president of the Elephant Help Project, awarded the third prize to Kalim Elephant Trekking for their 35-year-old bull “Sirimongkol”. Van Ogtrop said, “The success of the Healthy Elephant Contest has been remarkable. The excitement it has generated among camps and mahouts cannot be overstated. I know they are already gearing up for next year, and this was always our ambition at Elephant Help.”
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