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Second white elephant caught this year in western Burma

New Delhi (Mizzima) – For the second time this year, in what officials will see as a fortuitous omen ahead of general elections scheduled for November, a rare white elephant has been captured in Burma.

Western Command troops led by Brigadier General Soe Thein along with other military and civilian authorities worked together to catch the female elephant yesterday north of the border township of Maungdaw in Arakan State.

The white elephant was a member of a five-head herd spotted on September 20, about 27 miles (43 kilometres) north of Maungdaw, across the Naf River from Bangladesh. 

“It was caught today [Thursday] at about 12 noon. Lieutenant General Ko Ko from the Ministry of Defence came by helicopter yesterday. The Western commander had arrived in advance. The army surrounded the elephants. They used four trained elephants to catch the wild white elephant,” a person close to the township’s peace and development council office told Mizzima.

A forestry department official estimated the age of the female white elephant to be 29 years.

Traditionally, white elephants, associated as they are with the birth of Buddha, were regarded as an indication of peace, prosperity and the legitimacy of the ruling monarch in Buddhist Southeast Asian society. Though Thailand is today the only country where a monarch continues to occupy political space, white elephants are still revered by many throughout the populations.

On June 26, again in Maungdaw Township, a 38-year-old female white elephant was captured. Christened Badda Waddy, she is being kept in Naypyidaw on the premises of the Uppata Thanthi Pagoda. In 2002, a large female white elephant and a smaller white elephant were also caught in Maungdaw Township.

Last Updated ( Friday, 24 September 2010 06:03 )  

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