Elephants gather for polo match

BANGKOK, 28 February 2017: Anantara Hotels and Resorts’ King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament will be hosted, 9 to 12 March, on the banks of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River.

Now in its 15th year, the tournament has become one of the biggest charity events in Southeast Asia raising USD1.3 million (THB46 million) for projects that better the lives of Thailand’s wild and domesticated elephant population.

Projects supported by the fund include the world’s first Thai Elephant Assisted Autistic Therapy Project; positive reinforcement elephant training workshops; mahout community development initiatives, and wild elephant conservation.

A total of 30 unemployed former street elephants will take part in this year’s festival during which they will be given full veterinary checks and care, much needed food and drink and essential vitamin supplements for the duration of the event.

Strict rules apply that take into account the elephants’ welfare. By imposing a “no micro-chip, no game” rule, Anantara guarantees that all participating elephants have been domestically bred and not captured from the wild, or smuggled in from neighbouring countries.

The King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament was recently awarded a silver medal for Sports CSR Initiative of the Year at the Asia 2016 SPIA Sports Industry Awards.

Organised by Sport360° and MMC Sportz, in partnership with Thailand’s Ministry of Tourism and Sports, the awards applaud sports industry leaders that demonstrate a balance between business, community and environment.

The 2017 event will have 10 teams fielding 40 players, including Thai celebrities, supermodels, professional horse polo players and New Zealand All-Blacks rugby players.

Programme highlights

9 March opening day

0800 Monk Blessing Ceremony and Elephant Spirit Men

0900 Opening Parade on the pitch – traditional dancers/bands etc

1000 Exhibition Match – interviews with key players/elephant conservationists

1100 Elephant Fruit Buffet

1200 Lunch

1300 Afternoon games

10 March Chaing Noi Day (Children’s Day)

Over 1,000 children to spend the day learning about conservation and wild elephant protection in Thailand.

11 March Ladies day

On pitch – Fashion Parades, bands, winning prize for best dressed

12 March Finals

King’s Cup Elephant Polo Grand Final

Trophy giving ceremony by the Royal representative

Final Elephant Fruit Buffet

For more information please check out www.anantaraelephantpolo.com

Anantara has long been associated with elephant conservation efforts with the formation of The Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, which has performed over 40 rescues of elephants off the streets of Thailand, as well as bringing the hugely successful Elephant Parade to Bangkok.

For more information on the 15th Annual King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, please visit www.anantaraelephantpolo.com.