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Rare white elephant born in Myanmar: state media – Offbeat News – Report by AFR

A rare white elephant has been born in western Myanmar, state media said on Wednesday, revealing what many in the Buddhist-majority country believe to be an auspicious creature.

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

Footage released by state television showed the Tusker Tot following his mother to a river and being washed by his keepers and later feeding on her.

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

“Pearl-colored eyes, a back shaped like a plantain branch, white hair, a prominent tail, auspicious conspiracy marks on the skin, five claws on the front legs and four on the hind legs, and large ears,” the newspaper reported.

Social media users first reported the birth of the elephant – who has yet to be named – late last month.

Historically, white elephants held great promise in Southeast Asian culture, and the region’s ancient rulers acquired as many as they could to increase their wealth.

But the ruinous expense of keeping the beasts in a suitably lavish style led to the modern expression in which a “white elephant” is a useless if beautiful possession.

According to state media, six white elephants are currently in captivity in the military-established capital Naypyidaw – mostly from Rakhine state and southern Ayeyarwady region.

As Myanmar was rocked by a military coup last year and its bloody crackdown on dissidents, the response of many on social media has been muted or skeptical.

“Am I color blind if it only looks brown to me?” posted a user.

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

“Now the poor elephant has to go to prison.”

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