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The Ayutthaya Elephant Camp family just got a little bigger.
       The Royal Elephant Kraal's latest addition, a 60-kilo baby girl we've called "Hope", came into this world just after midnight on September 21, 2000. After two round-the-clock days of "birth watch", everybody (especially a certain 35 year-old proud mommy named Pang So-Pa) was happy she made it. (Those tears, in the eyes of a few grown men in the crowd gathered to quietly witness the exciting event, weren't just from lack of sleep!)
      Though the calf's small size (for an elephant, anyway) concerns Camp staff, both mother and baby seem to be doing fine. Hope was standing without assistance within the hour, and began nursing the next morning. We'll be watching her very closely over the coming weeks, and will keep you posted as we pick a Thai name for this little girl in conjunction with the local extension office. Here in Thailand, the naming of elephants in a serious matter (to paraphrase T.S. Eliot) and, yep, there's a government office for this too.
      When asked about his own "hopes" for the Kraal's smallest elephant, Ayutthaya Elephant Camp Director Sompast Meephan said, "My first hope was for a trouble-free birth and a healthy baby. I also hope for a quick recovery for So-Pa. Finally, I hope the attention a birth brings raises awareness of Thai elephants' plight, so that I leave her a legacy of hope when I'm gone." Reaching full adult size over the next fifteen to twenty years (and learning to use a trunk that just won't cooperate!) will be challenge enough for little Hope.
      We're committed to making sure she's got a safe place to grow up.



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