One of the most spectacular and colourful events of the Thai tourist calender is the annual round-up of wild elephants at Surin -- 416 kilometres (260 miles) from the capital Bangkok.
CU AND SV Bull, female and baby elephants walk past spectators (4 shots)
LV PAN Trained elephant and men catching a wild elephant
LV Baby elephant evades capture
SV Crowd watches
LV AND CU Tug-of-war won by elephant against 100 soldiers (4 shots)
LV Kick-off in the elephants football match and play continues in mid-field
LV Elephants continue football match with play from end-to-end with elephant (red number 2) dribbling ball out to right wing, shoots and scores goal (3 shots)
SPORT - ELEPHANT FOOTBALL
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Background: One of the most spectacular and colourful events of the Thai tourist calender is the annual round-up of wild elephants at Surin -- 416 kilometres (260 miles) from the capital Bangkok.
SYNOPSIS: This year's round-up was held on Saturday (20 November). The event usually takes place at the weekend to cater for the thousands of visitors who travel from Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand to see the local equivalent of an American rodeo.
The highlight was the capture of the wild elephants by the Mahouts -- elephant handlers -- mounted on working elephants.
However, some were just too small to be caught by the Mahout's rope...
Besides the round-up itself, the programme included demonstrations of the strength and abilities of working elephants. One hundred soldiers took on one in a tug-of-war... There was no doubt of who was going to be the winner.
Most of the elephants' work in Thailand is the lifting and handling of heavy, bulky objects. But the huge animals are capable of short bursts of surprising speed. The skill of the handlers perched on the backs was graphically demonstrated in the elephants' football match.
The work of a trained elephant demands close co-operation between animal and handler. Usually the Mahout and his charge become inseparable and work together for most of their lives. As elephants do not breed freely in captivity, the annual roundup at Surin is more than just a tourist spectacle. The wild elephants are needed to replenish the working herds.