Elephants in Thailand trained to play basketball

With a huge body and so tall, elephants do not need to jump to make a jam.

Amazing elephants in Thailand are being trained to play basketball, as part of an innovative regime introduced by their carers.

The Island Safari Centre on Koh Samui is teaching six-year old Malie, and nine-year old Toktak to use their trunks to perform basketball skills, in an effort to improve their health and vitality.

Organisers at the centre, which cares for the animals, say that they undergo rigorous training in order to learn the basics of the game.

“It takes two or three months of intensive training to teach them basics, but fortunately their standards are improving with each passing day”, said organiser Ning.

The keepers begin by teaching the elephants basic ball control skills, and how to hold the ball in their trunk. The animals are then taught to stand on their hind legs, walk with the ball and finally shoot it through the hoop.

Visitors to the centre described the game as “unbelievable”, with one onlooker saying, “I had never seen an elephant playing basketball.”

Via - Telegraph

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The elephant pictured here is clearly underweight and wouldn't even want to imagine the brutal "training" it has gone through for the sake of entertaining tourists. I spent time in Northern Thailand working to rehabilitate elephants that have been rescued from these sort of shows. It truly is tragic. If you ever see the elephants in trekking camps, shows like this, or being used to beg in the cities, you will see they are bony and thin like this one, often with scarring on their heads from the metal hooks used to "coach" them into this behaviour. Visit www.elephantnaturepark.org for more information on a better future for elephant tourism and observation.

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