Some elephants in Thailand are getting a much needed break from begging in the city streets thanks to an annual polo tournament. Jeanne Yurman reports.
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Some hard working elephants are enjoying a week of pampering and fun thanks to a polo tournament in Thailand. These pachyderms are known for plodding up and down the city streets, helping to drum up small change outside restaurants and nightspots from morning 'til night. But while romping around in the annual King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, just outside Bangkok, they are instead soaking up lavish attention. Tim Boda is the event's organizer. (SOUNDBITE) (English) TOURNAMENT ORGANIZER, TIM BODA, SAYING: "For some of these elephants they've worked really hard and some not always in best conditions. They're really coming for a week of relaxation, they have a holiday with us. They have check-up by doctors, they're getting their massages, perfect food, and a little bit of play time every day." All 51 of the massive participants undergo health exams. Only those deemed physically fit can play. Caroyln Syangbo says playing polo atop these untrained giants is tricky. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ELEPHANT POLO PLAYER FROM NEPAL, CAROLYN SYANGBO, SAYING: "So the challenge is you're playing on a very big elephant with a very long stick, with a very small ball. So, obviously, it's keeping them all together and working together because it's quite easy to miss the ball because you go past it and then to get back to the ball is actually really hard." Sixteen international teams will compete in this tournament, which is ultimately aimed at raising money to improve the lives of the country's elephants.
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