Thailand is in a state of jubilation after the news that all twelve boys and their coach have been rescued from the Tham Luang Nang Non caves.

After seventeen days spent with the soccer team trapped underground, the country can breathe a collective sigh of relief.

Travellers in Thailand have witnessed the national mood shift from anxiety to something like a celebration.

Something they might also have noticed is this strange image.


While it would be easy to guess that it had something to do with the rescue mission into the cave network, its bizarre collection of animals, soccer playing elephants and even the superhero Iron Man requires some decryption. It's a cartoon that is layered with meaning.

The colourful image is a coded celebration and "thank you" to the massive team involved in bringing the boys home.

The cartoon by Sisidea has been doing the rounds on Thai social media, and has been shared thousands of times.

It was even picked up by the Thai Navy SEAL diving team who were leading the daring operation to bring the stranded boys home.

Here's the significance of the 63 animals it depicts:

• 13 boars (twelve small ones and a larger one) signify the trapped football team "The wild boars" and their coach.
• A white elephant is Narongsak Osottanakorn, leads the pack as the commander of the rescue mission.
• A white horse, represents the heroism of those involved.
• Five white seals, a little less cryptic, are the Thai navy SEALs who have been leading the rescue.
• Thirteen frogs are the cave divers or "frog men" who have been in the caves helping.
• The blue character at the front is a blue lion, who represents Belgian and British helpers.
• The kangaroo represents the rescuers from Australia.
• The panda is the Chinese rescue team.
• A crane is the mascot of the Japanese rescuers.
• A tiger stands in for the Burmese rescue team.
• The moose is an emblem for the Swedish rescuers.
• A brown elephant represents help and rescuers from neighboring Laos
• Swallows are a team of Thai climbers who assisted.
• A bald eagle represents the US rescue effort.
• A dragon serpent represents the efforts to pump water out of the caves.
• The surprising red and yellow marvel hero, Iron Man, stands in for Elon Musk who has been helping develop high-tech rescue solutions.
• A dog stands in for the K9 unit who scoured the mountain for the lost boys and possible exits.
• Then, perhaps most baffling, are the flock of ten birds facing the entrants of the cave: these represent journalists covering the mission. The eagle eyed reader will see amongst the flock is a black bird. This crow represents the views of those criticising the mission and pessimists who had written off the mission.

But what about the people who drew it?

Sisidea is a duo of illustrators and sisters, Aruni Aunhawarakorn and Jantima Manasviyoungkul.

They had the idea for the image after they heard about the boys being discovered in the cave, but they didn't dare draw anything until they heard that the rescue had been a success.

HooYAH ❤...

Posted by SISIDEA on Tuesday, 10 July 2018

The sisters, who live in Bangkok gave an interview to Business Insider to demystify their tribute. "This picture is to show appreciation of the Thai people to the collaborations from many people around the world."


Since the first etching there have been a few additions to the image, including some labels. Now the operation is finally over and Thailand can celebrate the rescue.