In the lobby of the Pullman hotel (ex-Sofitel Raja Orchid), Khon Kaen, Thailand.
These guys are from one of the ethnic villages in Surin where the government has granted them license to keep elephants. As elephants can eat hundreds of kilos of food every day and because there are simply too many to perform at the “elephant village” tourist attractions, many elephants are taken to towns across Thailand, especially the northeast, to walk the roads and beg for money for “food” – the handlers sell 3 baht bags of sugarcane or bananas for 20 baht to people along the way (people sitting outside of restaurants or pubs are popular targets). This practice has become so lucrative that we often hear of the villages renting elephants out for big sums of money, hopefully to people that know how to keep them safe and healthy.
The small elephant shown above looked hungry and thirsty, and Max was happy to oblige.