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In Pictures: Elephants play Thailand polo match in charity fundraiser

Proceeds from the game are ploughed back into promoting the welfare of the animal that once adorned the country’s flag.

Elephants in Thailand have played the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament in Bangkok, an event which has become a fixture in the calendar.

Carrying a mahout and a polo player on their back, the elephants may be put through their paces but the money raised will be used to help the country’s national animal cope with life in 21st Century Thailand.

The funds raised will be used for projects including housing for the mahouts and families, shelters for the elephants and a mobile blood centrifuge and elephant ambulance for the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre, organisers said.

The elephants can count on a special treat after each match, sugar cane or a nutritious mix of molasses and rock salt in rice balls, to replace depleted vitamins and minerals.

An elephant is fed by children before the match (Sakchai Lalit/AP)
Elephants tuck in ahead of the game (Sakchai Lalit/AP)
Fruit is the favourite pre-match meal for the elephants (Sakchai Lalit/AP)
Polo players behind mahouts sit astride each elephants as they play during the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament in Bangkok, Thailand (Sakchai Lalit/AP)
Polo players behind mahouts sit astride each elephants as they vie for the ball (Sakchai Lalit/AP)
A Thai mahout chooses a polo mallet for a polo player (Sakchai Lalit/AP)
Polo players behind mahouts sit astride each elephants (Sakchai Lalit/AP)
A polo player sitting behind a mahout chooses a polo mallet (Sakchai Lalit/AP)
A mahout sprays water on an elephant after the match (Sakchai Lalit/AP)
The King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament in Bangkok (Sakchai Lalit/AP)

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