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The King's Cup Elephant Polo Tournament

Since its inception in 2001, the King’s Cup Elephant Tournament has built a reputation as a not-to-be-missed event that attracts people from all around the world to enjoy a unique week of sport.

The welfare of elephants used in the polo tournament is paramount, with strict rules in place to ensure that the pachyderms are well cared for at all times. Thanks to Thailand’s advanced micro-chipping programme for all legal domesticated elephants and research into DNA tagging,by imposing a “no micro-chip, no game” rule, Anantara guarantees that all elephants who play have been domestically bred and not captured from the wild or smuggled in from neighbouring countries.

The annual event allows 24 young elephants to be taken off the streets for the two week period of the tournament, providing them with a native forest environment and the best food possible, as well as the only veterinary check they would probably receive all year.

Through the generosity of participants and spectators at the lively annual auction and during the tournament, Anantara has raised over US$400,000 to date. In 2009 1.8 million baht  was raised to fund the world’s first ever elephant therapy programme to research the rehabilitation benefits for autistic children.  The Thai Elephant Therapy Project (TETP) was created in conjunction with Chiang Mai University. Funds raised from the 2011 King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament will continue to support research and clinics for children in Thailand living with autism.

In addition money raised in 2011 has been used to launch the first and only elephant hospital in southern Thailand, as well as a human-elephant conflict project between the GTAEF and the Elephant Conservation Network (ECN) charity who works in a wildlife reserve in Kanchanaburi.  The wild elephants in this reserve have had their migration routes infringed upon as new reservoirs have created raised water levels which block their natural paths, restricting access between traditional elephant areas.  Adding to the problem, the land in this area is largely made up of sugar cane crops, which wild elephants feed happily on.  A particular area of wild but currently unprotected land is thought to be used as a corridor by these elephants and studies are currently underway in this specific area to assess elephant numbers and migratory patterns.  If the results prove the use of this land as an elephant corridor, the findings will be presented to the current owners with a request that they preserve the land for the elephants’ continued use.

For more information visit

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas
18th Floor, Berli Jucker House,
99 Soi Rubia, Sukhumvit 42 Rd.,
Bangkok 10110, Thailand