The 13th King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament will be unpacking its trunks at Siam Polo Park at VR Sports Club in Bangkok over 28-31 August, 2014. This is the first time the jumbo-sized annual elephant polo fest will be held in the capital, and only the second occasion on which it
has not been staged at Hua Hin.
Whatever the venue though, the tournament is a crucial way of raising much-needed funds to support the lot of the Asian elephant in Thailand, particularly ‘street’ elephants. Since the event’s inception in 2001, over US$ 750,000 has been raised and put to good use by organizations such as the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre. Proceeds have also been used to fund the planting of trees to create upcountry ‘elephant corridors’, which help to reduce the risk of elephant/farmer conflicts, and to stage educational programmes that teach local school children the importance of conservation and the protection of wild elephants.
In the final analysis though, quite apart from being highly enjoyable for spectators and the participating teams – of which there were 16 last year encompassing 50 riders – the tournament is enormous fun for these naturally playful animals. It gives elephants usually found on Bangkok’s busy and polluted streets a few days of R&R that they simply don’t get in everyday life and they lap it up! In addition, during the festivities ‘the athletes’ are guaranteed unlimited quality food and each is fully checked over by a team of veterinarians who can prescribe essential medicines and vitamin supplements as required.
For more information on the 13th King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament, visit www.anantaraelephantpolo.com