A procession of 250 elephants in Thailand's north-eastern province of Surin entered the Asia Book of Records for the "largest elephant parade and food serving in Thailand and Asia", the organisation's editor-in-chief said. The event, also known as Surin Elephant Round-up, has been held every year since 1955 where some 200 elephants and their mahouts come to a gathering, Surin Province's website said.
"Today, the record, the Asian record for highest number of elephant collecting together and parading together, and that recorded of 250 elephants. So that is the record which is achieved today," said Asia Book of Records' editor-in-chief Biswaroop Roy Chowdhury. There is no known previous record in the category of "the largest elephant parade and food serving in Thailand and Asia".
Asia Book of Records is a platform for those in Asia to showcase their unique abilities and record any achievements, Chowdhury said. It was created by a group of world record holders, the website said, and was not linked to the Guinness World Records organisation.
In 2003, the Guinness World Record for the "largest elephant buffet" – involving 269 Asian elephants, which ate more than 50 tonnes of food – was awarded in Thailand's Surin province during the parade, its website said. During the parade on 20 November, elephants were served 67 tonnes of a variety of fruits prepared on a 400m table along a road in the province, local officials said.
Elephant parades and shows have become a major tourist attraction for the province. "I am here today because I want to see the elephant show in Surin. I come this morning," said Marian Nielsen, 63, from Denmark.
Others say they were happy to see the animals close up rather than reading about them on the internet. "I kind of have some expectations before I came here, whether they were often treated good, the stuff you read on the internet about it. But it seems as if, it looks okay, it's wonderful to see those animals, really it is. And they seemed content and happy, not just looking for what, for them to get breakfast, you know," said 53-year old tourist Peter Troelstrup.
Surin had one of the largest elephant villages in the country, housing more than 200 elephants, and was well-known for preserving ancient traditional livelihoods with the animals, local officials said.