Elephants are revered by the Thai people. Though they are an endangered
species, there are still 2,000 wild elephants in Thailand. Twenty elephants
were brought to the conference from the Ayutthaya Elephant Palace in
northern Thailand. They performed in an elaborate show that took place
before AIDS 2004's opening ceremony.
Once the conference was underway, every now and again
the elephants were dressed up and paraded through the grounds. At
other times, the elephants could be found in a parking lot adjacent
to the large conference center complex, where free rides were offered
to delegates. Posters pinned up throughout the area described the
plight of elephants in Thailand.
Many of the elephants were painted with the motto of this conference,
"Access for All," on one side, and an anti-AIDS symbol
on the other.
A conference delegate gets a ride on an elephant. Riding on an elephant is a lot like riding ... more
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