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Baby Elephant on a Phuket Beach: The real story behind the photos

The real story behind it (and how I became anonymously famous)

Stop everything and look at this baby elephant’s first time on the beach” How many times did you see such a catchline?

4 things you should know about these photos:

  1. NO, it’s not the first time he sees the sea! The baby elephant actually comes here to play every day.
  2. In 90% of the cases, I was not credited. Someone once removed my name from my photo, and it got worse!
  3. The photos were shot on Bangtao beach, Phuket, Thailand.
  4. The baby elephant’s name is ‘Lucky’, and he must be 4 years old.

So how did it become viral?

Baby elephant in Phuket

It all happened on Bangtao beach in Phuket during a casual lunch with friends. I saw a small elephant walking alone toward the water and I, of course, thought he would stop there and wait. But no, once approaching the sea, he just started to run faster and rammed into the waves like the kid he was! He came in and out several times; his mahout was casually waiting nearby, apparently used to the elephant’s behaviour. Then, the elephant suddenly did something hilarious, totally unexpected: he put his head into the sand and pushed himself forward. I happened to carry a 28-300 mm lens on that day, giving me this perspective and the photo of a lifetime!

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The photo of this baby elephant enjoying his little daily bath on Bangtao Beach in Phuket has been around the social world countless times. In addition, in these times of self-gratification, someone removed my name from my own photos, and an incredible amount of people (some very famous) posted them.

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Strangely, a couple of years after I took these awesome photos, the viral phenomenon got bigger and bigger, and I kept on getting weekly alerts from readers and friends spotting my photos here and there: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, you name it, all without any credit, of course. I guess that’s the way it is now: I’m an anonymous celebrity, that’s a consolation! Woohoo!

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So enjoy these photos, and no, I will not put an ugly watermark across the whole picture; it is way too late anyway 🙂

(HOWEVER, If you see my photo somewhere, do what some of my many readers did so nicely to support the unfortunate photographer that I am: post a link to this page on the offending websites! THANK YOU!)

Please copy the link below and paste it where you see my photo without the proper credit >>>

Baby Elephant on a Phuket Beach: The real story behind the photos

More photos

Baby Elephant Playing on the Beach willy thuan5 willy thuan9 willy thuan7 willy thuan6

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Born in France a long long time ago, I started to travel the world early until I settled in Phuket in 1994. For the past 30 years, my passion for photography and my curiosity have taken me to every corner of Phuket, Bangkok and everywhere I could go in Thailand. My goal is to share my discoveries, photos and tips to help travellers plan their holidays by making Phuket 101 as easy as possible to use for everyone!