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Rare white elephant born in Myanmar: state media

A rare white elephant born in Myanmar's western Rakhine state is seen in Taungup . township on Tuesday

A rare white elephant, born in Myanmar’s western Rakhine state, was spotted in Taungup Municipality on Tuesday.

A rare white elephant was born in western Myanmar, state media said Wednesday, revealing what many in the Buddhist-majority country consider a promising creature.

The baby was born last month in the western state of Rakhine, weighs about 80 kilograms and is about 70 cm long, according to the Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

Footage released by state television shows the tusk following its mother to a river and being washed by the caretakers and later fed from her.

The mother – a 33-year-old named Zar Nan Hla – is being held by the Myanmar Timber Enterprise in Rakhine state, the Global New Light said, adding that the baby had seven of the eight characteristics associated with rare white elephants.

“Pearl-colored eyes, plantain-branch-shaped back, white hair, a striking tail, favorable plot marks on the skin, five claws on the front legs and four on the hind legs, and large ears,” the paper reported.

Social media users first posted about the elephant’s birth, which has not yet been named, late last month.

Historically, white elephants were considered extremely auspicious in Southeast Asian culture, and the region’s ancient rulers acquired as many as they could to increase their fortunes.

But the disastrous cost of keeping the beasts in appropriately lavish style gave rise to the modern expression in which a “white elephant” is a useless, albeit beautiful, possession.

According to state media, there are currently six captive white elephants in the army-built capital of Naypyidaw, mostly from Rakhine state and the southern region of Ayeyarwady.

With Myanmar reeling from a military coup and its bloody crackdown on dissent last year, response from many on social media has been muted or skeptical.

“Am I color blind if I just look tan?” posted by a user.

“Elephants were only important in the ancient times,” said another.

“Now the poor elephant will have to go to jail.”


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© 2022 AFP

Quote: Rare white elephant born in Myanmar: State media (2022, Aug 3) retrieved Aug 3, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-08-rare-white-elephant-born-myanmar.html

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