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Published on Sunday, June 23, 2019

Elephant ride business fights eviction from Ayutthaya Historical Park






A long established elephant rides business at Thailand's Ayutthaya Historical Park has been told to vacate its premises, but has vowed that it won't go quietly.


The Ayutthaya Elephant Palace and Royal Kraal was ordered to vacate its spot in the Ayutthaya Historical Park within 30 days.


The park claims the eviction is required so the park can 'reclaim the area for landscape improvement.'


The business has been a fixture at the park for more than 20 years.


"We will petition the Central Administrative Court next week. We can't accept the order requiring us to vacate our current location within 30 days. We are a nationally recognised attraction. How can you simply tell us to go?" said manager Ittiphan Khaolamai.


It is one of the largest elephant ride businesses in the country with 200 staff and 70 elephants.


Business owner Laithongrien Meephan said its lease had expired in January 2019 but this is not uncommon as it usually renews on an annual basis without any issues.


Laithongrien says the eviction notice by the Fine Arts Department is because the park, as a UNESCO World Heritage site, wants to distance itself from the growing opposition to live animal attractions.


Cambodia's iconic Angkor Wat temple complex also recently announced it would end elephant rides there as western tourists in particular are increasingly snubbing attractions that use captive animals for entertainment.


 

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