Clubbing and elephant-feeding, all in one night

Here’s one quirky thing about Bangkok. In the Nana red-light district, it’s not surprising to see go-go dancers next to an elephant handler. Each night, you’ll find on average half a dozen elephants roaming the streets of Bangkok.

Their handlers, known as mahouts, go about trying to get tourists to buy on-hand treats, such as sugar cane, for the elephants. It turns out to be a pretty lucrative way to make a living (relatively speaking). One handler makes about $67 a day compared to $270 for working in a factory.

But it’s not all fun and games. The mahouts depend on their elephants for their livelihood. On the other hand, keeping elephants in downtown Bangkok is quite inconsiderate. The police haven’t found a good solution, though a Stray Elephant Task Force was created last year with undercover officers who try to keep the elephants out of Bangkok. Things aren’t looking good, according to the New York Times:

“To be honest, nobody wants to do this job, nobody wants to deal with the elephants,” said Prayote Promsuwon, who is in charge of the Stray Elephant Task Force, which was formed after an elephant handler, fleeing the police, raced his elephant the wrong way down a large Bangkok boulevard, causing traffic chaos.