Why is camp accreditation important?

Each individual country has its own government requirements and legislation surrounding elephant camp management. While these are useful for internal purposes, international visitors do not have access to or information about each national requirement. Compounding the confusion is the legal status and ownership of each elephant. In Indonesia all elephants in human care are owned by the Indonesian Government. In the Lao PDR most elephants in tourism are privately owned. This in itself creates unique and complex issues, as no two countries have the same legislation or elephant-related policies.

ACES takes every camp and national context into consideration -  while still applying the same strict internationally-expected level of elephant welfare towards each assessment. As an ACES accredited camp, each camp is responsive to internationally-recognised criteria; a must for the global community and any proactive elephant camp

Benefits of camp evaluation and accreditation

Reaching ACES accreditation sends a powerful message to the community. Visitors can be certain that ACES accredited camps provides strong elephant welfare; regular staff training and are invested in the best elephant care available.  

Organisations that are seeking ACES accredited camps include:

  • Tour Operators

  • Adventure Travel Businesses

  • Universities

  • School Expeditions

The accreditation process

We invite elephant camps to contact ACES for a Service Proposal that explains the user-friendly accreditation process. Regardless of whether a camp has 2 or 20 elephants, our assessment system works efficiently for all elephant camps. We are a specialist company, focussing solely on southeast Asian elephant camps. As such, we do not assess zoos, any other captive species or other large multi-species facilities. Camps will not receive ACES accreditation without passing all mandatory criteria. Payment does not guarantee automatic approval and camps must apply for and pass all criteria on an annual basis.

ACES will not work with camps that:

  • Do not follow the Five Domains of Freedom and/or the Five Provisions.

  • Make elephants work in extreme heat.

  • Do not allow elephants sufficient rest breaks or access to clean drinking water.

  • Do not provide suitable living shelters.

  • Make elephants perform unnatural behaviours such as circus tricks, standing on hind legs and associated activities.

  • Cannot provide the legal paperwork, registration papers and other documents showing the provenance of every elephant. 

  • Feed their elephants poor diets with a lack of seasonal variety.

  • Are engaged in wildlife trafficking or the illegal use of fauna or flora.

  • Have poor mahout training and/or mahouts that show any form of harm towards elephants.


ACES will work with camps that:

  • Have a genuine commitment to engage with ACES and improving camp practises.

  • Support local elephant conservation efforts.

  • Support local communities and farmers.

ACES reserves the right to revoke camp accreditation at any stage if we have reasonable belief that guidelines have been breached or compromised.