A place where “Elephants get to be elephants again”, the innovative Elephant Valley Project (elephantvalleyproject.org) was set up to create a haven for Cambodia’s increasingly threatened pachyderm population. The project is the complete antithesis of the usual tourist theme-park, with all the animal exploitation it inevitably entails. There are no elephant rides here (something the project actively discourages). Instead, visitors get the chance to shadow the project’s two resident elephant families, walking with them through the jungle and observing them at leisure in their natural environment, while learning about them from their Khmer mahouts.

The project is part of the Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment NGO or ELIE, for short, which works to improve the welfare of domestic elephants in Mondulkiri, many of whom suffer overwork, malnutrition and abuse. ELIE runs several projects locally, including an elephant research and monitoring programme and a mobile vet service.

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The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

The truth about elephant tourism in Asia

Elephants are born free, but are everywhere in chains – and it’s tourism which is increasingly to blame. Riding an elephant used to be on every visitor’s …

25 Nov 2016 • Gavin Thomas insert_drive_file Article
11 gorgeous pictures of Cambodia

11 gorgeous pictures of Cambodia

This beguiling country in Southeast Asia has captured the hearts and imaginations of travellers from all over the world. Travel photographer Fiona Campbell is …

11 Jan 2016 • Fiona Campbell insert_drive_file Article
How to see Angkor Wat without the crowds

How to see Angkor Wat without the crowds

The sky is lightening. Squint and you can just about make out a change in the colour of it, a shift from inky-black to blue-black. As the sun rises further it c…

03 Jun 2015 • Helen Ochyra insert_drive_file Article
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