The Royal Thai Embassy in Tokyo learned from the Ueno Zoological Gardens that on 14 September 2020, the Ueno Zoological Gardens organised a condolences ceremony for the passing of the Thai elephant “Arthit” who died of Tuberculosis on 24 August 2020.
The unexpected passing of elephant “Arthit” was saddening and shocking for many, especially those who had been visiting and bonded with elephant “Arthit” since his arrival at the Ueno Zoological Gardens in 2002. Elephant “Arthit” was lucky enough to have received love and affection throughout his 18 years in Japan under the good care of the Ueno Zoological Gardens.
In October 2002, bull elephant “Arthit” and cow elephant “Uthai” traveled from Surin Province of Thailand to the Ueno Zoological Gardens. Both of them had received warm affection and care. The two elephants were the symbol of “friendship” between the two countries, representing huge gifts from Thailand to Japan to celebrate the auspicious occasion of the Birth of Her Imperial Highness Princess Aiko, the daughter of His Imperial Highness then the Crown Prince Naruhito. The two elephants were also a token of appreciation for the Organization for Industrial, Spiritual and Cultural Advancement (OISCA), a Japanese non-governmental organisation, in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the reforestation project in Surin Province.
Despite this saddening loss, the Royal Thai Embassy is very honoured that Their Majesties the Emperor and Empress of Japan conveyed a condolences message for the sudden passing away of Elephant “Arthit”.
Given the current COVID-19 situation, the Ueno Zoological Gardens internally organised the memorial service for Elephant “Arthit” among the staffs of the Ueno Zoological Gardens. For health safety reasons, the Ueno Zoological Gardens could not allow visitors to participate in the ceremony. Nevertheless, the Ueno Zoological Gardens has been receiving overwhelming number of flower bouquets and kind messages from Japanese people who wish to bid final farewell to Elephant “Arthit”, which shows how much love Elephant “Arthit” received from the Japanese.
On behalf of all Thais, the Royal Thai Embassy wishes to express our sincere appreciation to Elephant “Arthit” for being a Goodwill Ambassador, having put smiles on million faces and contributing to the strengthening relations between Thailand and Japan throughout his life. The Embassy will also continue to work closely with the Ueno Zoological Gardens to take good care of elephant “Uthai”.