The highly popular King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament
will take place this year from March 23 to March 29 in the northernmost
region of Thailand known as the Golden Triangle.
This year’s event is once again sponsored by
Audemars Piguet - one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious
watchmakers - and will see 12 teams go trunk to trunk to win the
coveted King's Cup trophy.
An opening parade and blessing ceremony will be
held in Chiang Saen town on March 23 to showcase the culture of
the Golden Triangle region with northern traditional-style
dancers, hill-tribe villagers in traditional costume, elephant
spirit men (Khru Ba Yai), and colourfully decorated pachyderms. The parade will mark the kick-off of the weeklong competition held
on the banks of the Ruak River which divides Thailand from Burma.
During the first five years of the tournament, the event took
place in the Royal seaside town of Hua Hin before moving to the
native home of elephants in 2006 – the Golden Triangle.
tournament was introduced to Thailand in 2001 by Anantara Resorts
and is a charitable event that raises money for the country’s
National Elephant Institute in Lampang, northern Thailand.
just seven years the King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament has gone
from a small two-day event with six teams into a week-long
extravaganza, which in 2008 featured 12 teams from four
continents, encompassing 40 players from at least 15 countries.
Through its own Elephant Camp located within the grounds of the
Anantara Resort Golden Triangle, the property’s focus on the
future of Thailand’s pachyderm population forms an integral part
of the resort’s operations.
On an ongoing basis, resident Elephant
Camp Director, John Roberts, works closely with the Thai
government’s Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang to develop
Anantara’s camp as an elephant sanctuary.
To date the
tournament has raised over US$200,000 for the National Elephant
Institute, which provides medical care, sustenance, employment,
and mahout training to Thailand’s elephant population. In 2008 the
funds were used to run the custom build ambulance that was donated
at the opening ceremony of the most recent tournament.
estimated that Thailand has around 2,500 domesticated elephants
and 1,500 wild elephants. This is down from an elephant population
of around 50,000 in 1950 and 100,000 in 1900.
Authority of Thailand (TAT) fully endorses the King’s Cup Elephant
Polo tournament, having identified it as one of the country’s
prime annual special events. It will take place in the grounds of
Anantara Resort Golden Triangle, and spectator entrance is free.
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