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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.

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 festival with Thailand’s national animal.

The welfare of elephants used in the 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.

In addition to the 30 rescued street elephants who have been taken off the streets and now enjoy a comfortable lifestyle at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort’s onsite Elephant Camp, the tournament allows a further 50 street elephants to have respite from their normal lives, during which they are well fed, provided with a native forest environment, and receive essential vitamin supplements, full veterinary checks and care for the duration of the event. Street life and ‘unemployment’ can be tough for an elephant, walking through crowded tourist areas and busy roads for ten hours a night, forced to rest during the day on small green spaces within the cities, often without shade and water. The King’s Cup schedule is deliberately designed to give these elephants rest and relaxation on a scale they are never afforded in their ‘normal’ lives.

Through the generosity of participants and spectators at the lively annual auction and during the tournament, Anantara has raised over USD 900,000 to date which has gone to various charities that benefits the elephants of Thailand. These include housing for the mahouts and families, shelters for the elephants and a mobile blood centrifuge and elephant ambulance for the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre (TECC).

Since 2009 donations have also gone to funding 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 and the TECC, initially allowing a further five elephants to be rescued off the streets of Bangkok, rented and trained as assistant therapists for autistic children. The program now runs free therapy sessions for Thai children every year.

Other significant benefits from money raised has gone to building the first elephant hospital in Krabi in the southern part of Thailand; research and tree planting to build elephant corridors in Kui Buri so there are no elephant/farmer conflicts; funding the first educational computer application for children to teach them the importance of conservation and protection of wild elephants in Thailand.

For more information visit www.anantaraelephantpolo.com

Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas
18th Floor, Berli Jucker House,
99 Soi Rubia, Sukhumvit 42 Rd.,
Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Email: reserveanantara@anantara.com