Chitwan elephant experience in Nepal

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Chitwan elephant experience in Nepal

Environment

The Elephant Camp is the first of its kind in Nepal and unique in its approach towards responsible elephant encounters: a place which has stopped offering elephant back safaris, and completely changed the way of managing its resident elephants.

Teaming up with founder of Elephant Aid International, Carol Buckley, the company has built five spacious enclosures for the eleven resident elephants who are now living together in their friendship groupings, allowing the elephants to have a natural social life. The guests are invited to step in to the lives of the elephants and to experience the life of the mahouts and their culture and traditions. Here you will experience the elephants’ natural rhythm and you will learn mainly by observing and engaging with the mahouts´ daily work.

As one of the pioneering companies in Nepal, we have demonstrated a commitment to sustainable travel and responsible tourism for more than fifty years. In addition to supporting a wide range of local programs, we have created several conservation and wildlife projects throughout Nepal. We recognise the importance of preserving the abundant ecosystems of Nepal, and with a deep connection to the national parks and the wildlife, we strive to deliver high quality and low number tourism to these fragile areas. They are a place to learn, to cherish, to grow and above most, a wondrous place to explore.

An example of our conservation efforts is The Long Term Tiger Monitoring Project, which was launched in 1980. From 1995 to 2012, two wildlife technicians from the company have been camera trapping tigers. Today, the job has been handed over to the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC). They have produced the most detailed data to date on tiger ecology, territorial dynamics, turnover, reproduction and tiger survival. Research is the key to sound management of protected areas. Research, coupled with other efforts, will help develop policy for management of areas not directly covered by government protection.

Community

To support the community surrounding our operations we provide a free health clinic and support children´s education. We see this as a win-win situation, because the support of the local community is crucial to the sustainability of our company. Therefore, we have a small health clinic on our premises, where the villagers come for free health check-ups once a month. For any emergency cases, we provide our vehicle for ambulance drives and we have key staffs who are medically trained and care for both our guests and community members.

In Nepal, we support hundreds of children in surrounding communities through the provision of scholarships, textbooks, uniforms and staff training. We engage meaningfully with the community to ensure education programs are sustainable.

On the land of our lodge in Chitwan we run a school as a joint project with the Swissair Staff Fund for Children in Need. It offers a free head start for children from disadvantaged families, and funding for their onward education in government schools. The school currently has fifty-five students from the surrounding villages. The programme covers health care, two meals/day, uniforms, and supplies. In return, the parents work in the school’s organic garden to grow vegetables for the children’s meals, giving them a sense of involvement and a new skill they can use at home to improve family nutrition. We encourage our guests to visit the school and if they wish, to give an English lesson or a donation of any form.

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