Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Rare White Elephant Captured in Arakan State

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Another rare white elephant has been captured in Maungdaw Township in western Arakan State, according to local residents. White elephants were seen as a source of power and good luck by Burmese kings.
The age of the female elephant is estimated to be about 38 years. It has a circumference of 10 feet, 11 inches and is 7- feet, 4-inches tall, according to a state-run newspaper.
Employees of a nongovernmental organization based in Maungdaw Township said that the military commander of Arakan State was present when the elephant was captured, and it “was like a military operation.”
According to tradition, ancient Burmese kings believed that they would become more powerful if they possessed a white elephant. The junta's chief, Snr-Gen Than Shwe, and four other top leaders have named their two private aircraft “White Elephant.”
Speaking to The Irrawaddy on Tuesday, a monk in Maungdaw Township said, “White elephants are one of the treasures of the country. It is a good omen for the country.”
The military regime captured three white elephants between 2000 and 2002 in Arakan State. Prime Minister Gen Khin Nyunt, who is now under house arrest, built a garden on Min Dhamma hill in Insein Township in Rangoon where the elephants were kept in a compound.
Khin Nyunt presided over a ceremony for the three elephants, one male and two female. The male elephant is now 18 years old, and the two female elephants are 32, and 15.
Khin Nyunt was purged and placed under house arrest in 2005. The regime's leaders have never visited the site.
Source: Irrawaddy

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