Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is well known for its highly acclaimed onsite Elephant Camp, which offers guests a range of fun, interactive, and educational experiences with its friendly herd of rescued gentle giants. In a natural extension of these ethical elephant activities, a new two hour Walking with Giants experience has been introduced offering a more personal and enriching encounter.
Walking with Giants has been devised as a way of getting to know the elephants better and developing a deeper emotional connection. Much more than just a walk, it enables guests to experience the natural joy of the elephants’ daily free roaming time, and also to gain insights from scientifically qualified experts about how these intelligent creatures think and behave.
Guests who sign up for Walking with Giants join the elephants on their daily stroll, accompanied by their mahout caregivers and either the Camp’s resident vet or biologist. After walking from the Elephant Camp out to the grasslands or forest, depending on the season, the antics of either river bath time or playtime in the mud illustrates just how cheeky these graceful animals can be.
Guests can help to prepare snacks for the elephants, as well as activities for their behavioural enrichment. Meandering back to the camp, the scientific expert explains about elephant biology and behaviour, and also reveals fascinating facts and insights about the past, present and hopeful future for all of Thailand’s elephants.
John Roberts, Anantara’s Director of Elephants and Conservation Efforts, enthuses, “One of the most inspiring and heart-warming aspects of the camp is when we can give the elephants freedom to roam in their native jungle habitat, and creating this new activity provides guests with a prime opportunity to experience the pure joy of simply being with elephants as they socialise and behave completely naturally. It is also a fantastic experience for enthusiasts who are interested in learning about these majestic mammals from a scientific perspective.”
All activities are ethical at the award winning Elephant Camp of Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort which was set up in 2003 as a traditional mahout village. The Elephant Camp works alongside Anantara’s Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. To date more than 40 elephants have been rescued from Thailand’s city streets, of which 20 now live in the jungle environment of Anantara’s Elephant Camp, along with their mahout family, which receives English lessons, education for their children, and 100% of the profits from the sale of garments from a traditional silk worm business.
The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation also cooperates with the Thai government and other organisations in bigger picture projects. It has helped to fund research and clinics using elephants in therapy sessions for children living with autism. It equipped the first elephant hospital in Krabi, southern Thailand, with an ATV, and has also donated to the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang, among other things, a purpose built elephant ambulance and a gantry to help lame elephants stand. The foundation also built the world’s only facility to scientifically research elephant intelligence and behaviour and runs the world’s only programme to teach scientific Positive Reinforcement training methods to traditional mahouts.
Along with its parent company, Minor International, the foundation is working with international partners and the Cambodian Government to fund the protection of an 18,000 hectare elephant corridor of standing forest in the Cardamom Mountains and funding wild elephant preservation projects in Kui Buri, Thap Lan & Khao Yai National Parks in Thailand.
Walking with Giants, along with the Mahout Experience and Elephant Learning Experience, is offered as part of the resort’s luxurious all-inclusive Discovery Package, while a range of additional elephant activities (Elephant Yoga, Sunset Elephant Trek, Dining by Design at the Baby Elephant Camp and Elephant Picnic) are available at an extra charge.
For more information about Walking with Giants and the other ethical elephant experiences available at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort, visit www.anantara.com
More stories in Travel Talk