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Thursday, 23 July 2009

Anantara Golden Triangle Trumpets Baby Elephant Raimon's First Birthday

On July 16th 2009 Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa threw an extraordinary party.  A bounty of tropical fruit, brought fresh from the local markets, created a colourful spectacle and lavish feast for the thriving sanctuary of gentle giants at the resort's Elephant Camp, marking baby Raimon's first birthday as a very fruitful occasion.

Little Raimon, who was born in the early hours of July 16th 2008 at the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp, weighed in at just 90 kilos at birth, and was so small that she required the assistance of a step ladder for her first suckle.  Now, having reached her very first birthday, the little bundle of joy is not nearly so petite, and definitely not keen on treading the weighing scales, but certainly stands 1.1m tall!

From her first unsure steps taken just 30 minutes after birth, Raimon has blossomed into an unruly, but warmly treasured family member amongst the expanding cast of majestic beauties.  The past year has flown by for those watching her grow, and under the watchful eyes of her mother, Bua Tong, and her mahout (care giver), she has developed insatiable passions for playground and may even be a budding footballer!

As is traditional in Thailand, the baby elephant has two names, an official one for the 'passport' - Pang Raimon, and of course a nick-name for daily use - 'Am'.

John Roberts, Director of Elephants, comments, "We are delighted to celebrate the first birthday of such a strong growing girl and watch her benefit from the safety of our Elephant Camp; something that her mother did not have the opportunity to enjoy until later in her life.  Raimon is the second elephant to be born at Anantara within a year, but we are not trying to implement a breeding programme.  Instead we prefer to bring babies and pregnant mothers from the streets to ensure their future security and happiness.  Raimon's mother, Bua Tong, is an ex-street walker, and had been part of our mahout training camp for just over a year before giving birth.  Raimon's birth and happy growth is an example of our success in transforming the futures of our elephants, while providing mahouts and their families a rewarding livelihood, and guests with amazing interactive opportunities."

Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa is set in 160 acres of indigenous forest and landscaped gardens, occupying a hilltop position overlooking the rolling, green hills of Myanmar and Laos.  Set within the resort's lush bamboo forest, Anantara's Elephant Camp is now home to 31 elephants rescued from former grim existence in cities like Bangkok, including 2 babies who were born in the Camp. With the elephants came their mahouts and families in a project that is aligned with the activities of the Thai government's Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang and the National Elephant Institute, overseen by the Thai registered Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation. While the 'mahouts' are gainfully employed by their elephants, a silk-weaving project was established to provide a livelihood for their families.  The children attend local schools, while added security is provided by the Foundation who has fully insured both the families and their elephants.

A visit to the Elephant Camp is often the greatest highlight for resort guests; affording the wonderful opportunity of getting up close and personal with Thailand's gentle giants. Bath time at Camp is an exhilarating experience for all, and for the more adventurous, a three-day mahout training course is also on offer.  Apart from learning to 'drive' an elephant and gaining rare insight into mahout camp life, meeting the mahouts themselves is quite an experience.  For instance Khun Lord is the most senior mahout and Anantara's very own 'elephant whisperer' – named so for his very unusual ability to train baby elephants with tickles and whispers!

Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa is located 60km north of Chiang Rai's international airport. For enquiries and reservations, please call + 66 (0) 5378 4084 or + 66 (0) 2 477 0760 or email infogt@anantara.com. For more information, visit www.anantara.com.

For hundreds of years throughout Thailand, people would leave a jar of water outside their house to provide refreshment and extend a welcome to the passing traveller. Anantara is taken from an ancient Sanskrit word that means 'without end', symbolising this sharing of water and the heartfelt hospitality that lies at the core of every Anantara experience.

Anantara Resorts are currently located in the seaside town of Hua Hin and on Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, and in the Golden Triangle in the country's north. In the world-renowned destination of the Maldives, Anantara Dhigu and Anantara Veli are a 30-minute boat ride from the capital Male. Anantara Seminyak debuted in April 2008 in the most fashionable district of Bali – the Island of the Gods. Late 2008 saw the opening of Anantara Phuket, situated in the serenity of Mai Khao, Thailand, followed by Anantara Desert Islands Resort & Spa on Sir Bani Yas Island off the coast of Abu Dhabi, and Anantara Si Kao which lies on the secluded Changlang Beach area south of Krabi, Thailand. The newest member of the Anantara family opened its doors in April 2009, Anantara Baan Rajprasong in Bangkok is the first serviced suites property for the Anantara group.  www.anantara.com

Anantara is a member of Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world's largest alliance of independent hotel brands. GHA partner hotels are renowned for reflecting and respecting local traditions and culture through the their products and services www.globalhotelalliance.com

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