The hidden meaning behind the viral Thai cave cartoon


A pair of Thai artists have created a cartoon full of hidden symbols, to depict the successful effort to rescue the Thai football team trapped in a cave – and it has gone viral.

The cartoon, created by Sisidea has been shared thousands of times on Facebook. Even the Royal Thai Navy shared it.

It depicts 13 wild boars, representing the stranded members of the Wild Boars soccer team, swimming out of a narrow underwater cave alongside dozens of other animals, which represent the countries involved in the rescue efforts.

Elon Musk, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO, is Iron Man.

Here’s what each part of the cartoon symbolises:

  • Wild boars (12 small ones and one larger one): the stranded boys and their soccer coach.
  • White elephant: Narongsak Osottanakorn, the leader of the command centre in charge of the rescue mission.
  • White horse: all the heroes who have been involved in the mission.
  • White seals: the Thai navy SEALs who have been leading the rescue efforts.
  • Frogs: the cave divers who have been helping.
  • Blue lion: rescuers from Britain and Belgium.
  • Kangaroo: rescuers from Australia.
  • Panda: rescuers from China.
  • Crane: rescuers from Japan.
  • Moose: rescuers from Sweden.
  • Tiger: rescuers from Myanmar.
  • Brown elephant: rescuers from Laos.
  • Eagle: rescuers from the US.
  • Iron Man mask: Elon Musk, who has been tweeting his support for the rescue effort.
  • Swallows: climbers from Thailand.
  • Dog: a K9 unit at the scene.
  • Dragon: the team drilling into the cave and pumping water out.
  • Birds facing all the animals at the end of the cave: journalists covering the rescue mission.
  • Black crow among the birds: people criticising the mission.

Aruni Aunhawarakorn and Jantima Manasviyoungkul, the sisters behind Sisidea, said they thought of creating the graphic when they heard the soccer team was missing, but they didn’t put pen to paper until reports of the first successful rescue mission.

All 12 boys and their coach were successfully rescued.

The sisters, who live in Bangkok, told Business Insider:

“This picture is to show appreciation of the Thai people to the collaborations from many people around the world. These 13 footballers are represented as the little wild boars.

Tons of kindness has been flowing from many countries and specialist teams, so I am presenting all of them on the animation.”

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