A Visit to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo

In honor of National Thai Elephant Day, United States Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney and Thai Deputy Chief of Mission Nantana Sivakua visited the Smithsonians National Zoo and presented gifts to Ambika, Shanthi and Kandula on March 12, 2012. [Photo Courtesy of the Smithsonian's National Zoo/Jennifer Zoon]

About the Author: Kristie A. Kenney serves as the United States Ambassador to the Royal Kingdom of Thailand.

I celebrated Thai National Elephant Day with a visit to the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. I was joined by Nantana Sivakua, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Thai Embassy, and it brought back so many memories! As a child growing up in Washington, D.C. the National Zoo was where I first learned about the importance of animal conservation. I remember as a small child my visits to the National Zoo and being fascinated by the animals and by stories of their homelands. Little did I know that as an adult I’d live in Thailand and have a chance to help promote animal conservation programs. I know the people of Thailand feel just as passionate as I do in wanting future generations to see the incredible biodiversity of our world.

We got a great tour from Dennis Kelly, Director of the National Zoo, who introduced us to some of the Zoo’s elephants — Ambika, Shanthi, and Kandula. Kandula… more »

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