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Anantara Golden Triangle named in ‘World’s Most Responsible Hotels’ by Forbes Traveler

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The Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa has been selected as one of the most socially responsible hotels in the world. Only 10 hotels were hand-picked for inclusion in the list which honours environmental endeavors and guest experiences that Forbes Traveler describes as “milestones of hotel-sponsored humanitarian aid”.

The resort, one of the most luxurious in Northern Thailand is renowned for its many efforts to protect the environment and promote environmental conservation. An undisputed highlight of a guest’s stay and the resort’s conservation efforts would have to be a visit to the elephant camp. Set within the a lush bamboo forest, the camp is home to 16 adult and 13 baby elephants – all rescued from a life of begging on the streets. On an on-going basis, John Roberts the Elephant Camp Director, works closely with the Thai government’s Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang (located 600km north of the Thai capital Bangkok) to develop Anantara’s camp as an elephant sanctuary.

At the beginning of the 20th century, there were an estimated 100,000 elephants in the former Siam. According to latest estimates, the elephant population in Thailand has dwindled to just over 4,000. Some 2,500 are domesticated elephants, while a mere 1,500 roam freely in the wild.

Alarmingly, overall numbers are further decreasing, making projects like Anantara’s Elephant Camp vital to the success of national conservation efforts. With legislation in place to ban elephants from ‘working’ in cities, there are few alternatives for the continued existence of domesticated elephants. The common sight of elephants today in many large Thai cities appears to be a novelty at first, but the sad reality is that they are used for begging, are often not well fed and live in unsuitable conditions. And that’s what essentially gave birth to Anantara’s Elephant Camp – the realisation that an alternative could be offered to the mahouts, their families and elephants… A place where the animals are rehabilitated in their native habitat – assured of medical care and sustenance – while the mahout and his family are also well taken care of.

Guests at Anantara Golden Triangle are also offered the rare opportunity to learn to ‘drive’ an elephant by choosing to undertake a unique three-day mahout training course. As well as learning the mahout commands and some log rolling skills, guests can take their pachyderm charge bathing, partake in mahout camp life and gain a greater understanding of their three-tonne mount from Roberts. The funds raised from running the Mahout training courses along with guest donations are valuable in ensuring the continued existence of the Anantara Elephant Camp.

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