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Tawan RiversideElephant Resort in Thailand

Once in a lifetime. You won't forget it


Our elephants

The 12 elephants in the resort belong to the Bunpun Elephant Camp. The older ones worked in the jungle to move tree trunks before Mr. Boonpanbuntham, a native Thai of Mae Wang, owner of the camp rescued them in 1990. Duang Dee, Taeng Mo, Chai Lai, Kham Kaew and Tawan are all born here. The 10 mahouts are from the Karen hill tribe, the traditional elephant handlers of Northern Thailand. Before your visit we want to clarify some points to avoid misunderstanding: • Our elephants are captive animals for tourist use and the activities we offer are the best solution we have to feed them (250 kg per day for an adult). We have 12 elephants which means they eat almost 60 tonnes of food every month. • We don’t have the means to build a sufficiently large and resistant enclosure, so we have to chain them after 16:30. We can’t let them roam free for security reasons. • We try despite these constraints to give them the most pleasant environment, the first thing is to ban riding with cradles, only mahouts are allowed to ride elephants bareback. The second is to leave them in semi-liberty as much as possible during the day without chains and the third is to offer good activities for their well-being.


Elephants in tourism The elephant tourism industry came about because we already had elephants in captivity. They’ve been in captivity for a very long time and can’t just be released, so we have to find a way to feed them. Housing elephants have cost, and tourism is the only legal form of work for elephants and their owner to earn some income. Without work in tourism, Thai elephant owners will have no means to care for their animals. 95% of captive elephants in Thailand, or around 3,400, are privately owned which means that tourism is their only future. Boycotting them is ignorant and dangerous. What should happen is more exposure which will lead to pressure to set and maintain standards of care. Like horses, buffaloes, oxen and camels, elephants have been domesticated for thousands of years. Campaigners rarely object to the use of draught horses or camels, horse riding or racing, unless there are clear animal welfare concerns, when education and encouragement generally offer the best solutions. The same standards should apply to elephants.

The activities we offer are the best solution we have to feed them (250 kg per elephant per day, give them exercise and stimulation. We cannot leave them free for security reasons, so they are chained every night, because we do not have the means to build a sufficiently large and resistant enclosure. We try despite these constraints to give them the most pleasant environment possible, the first thing is to ban elephant riding with cradles, only mahouts are allowed to ride elephants bareback. The second is to leave them in semi-liberty as much as possible during the day.



Tawan Riverside – Elephant Resort 202 Moo 9 T. Mae Win – A. Mae Wang Chiang Mai 50360

Tel. (Thai): +66 (0)61 653 1595 Tel. (English & French): +66 (0)96 946 5325 tawanriverside@gmail.com

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