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Unveiling a Game-Changing Performance Dashboard: A Milestone for Elephant Tourism



[CHIANG MAI, FEBRUARY 2024] — Performance Dashboard


In a significant leap forward for the elephant tourism industry, Asian Captive Elephant Standards (ACES) proudly introduces its groundbreaking Performance Dashboard. This innovative tool revolutionizes the way we monitor and measure the performance of elephant tourist camps, setting a new standard for responsible and ethical practices within the industry.


The Performance Dashboard is a game-changer as it provides camps that may not be ready for certification, but are keen to assess their current welfare standards, a tool that enables them to pinpoint areas of weakness, facilitating improvements in both elephant welfare and quality of service they provide.


Starting from February 2024, the ACES team is equipped to:

  • Conduct audits for camps applying for certification (example 1).

  • Evaluate camps seeking to gauge their standing against the industry's highest standards (example 2).


In both cases, the performance dashboard serves as a tool to provide concise information to the camp's partners and tourists. This ensures that decisions are made based on an impartial and professional assessment, rather than relying solely on the camp's name or designation, or online reviews.


Example 1: Silver certified camp


*To be certified, the camps need to comply with all the mandatory criteria.



Example 2: Assessed camp - the camp is not certified yet




The Power of Standards: 10 Key Categories


At the heart of the Performance Dashboard are 10 carefully crafted categories, each designed to provide a comprehensive evaluation of elephant tourist camps. These categories cover a spectrum of vital aspects, including legal requirements, facility management, elephant welfare, and community relations. The holistic approach of the Performance Dashboard ensures that every facet of a camp's operations is thoroughly examined. Elephant welfare is, of course, the center of attention. However, it is also very important to ensure that the working and living conditions of the persons in charge of the elephants, the mahouts, are meeting the highest standards as it will ultimately impact elephant welfare.*


The 10 categories align with ACES' auditing and certification standards. This comprehensive framework has been developed based on expert findings, science-based research, and the best practices in camp management. By adhering to these standards, elephant camps can join the responsible elephant venue movement and achieve international certification by ACES.


A Closer Look at the Categories


  1. Legal Requirements: Ensures compliance with all relevant laws and regulations, setting the foundation for responsible and lawful operations.

  2. Facility Management: Evaluates the overall infrastructure and management practices to guarantee workers receive the right financial and medical support.

  3. Elephant Management: Focuses on the care, training, living conditions, and overall management of elephants to promote their well-being.

  4. Elephant Welfare: Prioritizes the welfare of elephants, emphasizing humane treatment, health, and living conditions.

  5. Elephant Activities: Assesses the nature and impact of activities, promoting enriching experiences while avoiding distress or harm to the elephants.

  6. Visitor Safety: Ensures that safety measures are in place to safeguard the well-being of visitors during their interactions with elephants.

  7. Visitor Experience: Measures the quality of the overall visitor experience, emphasizing education, respect, and responsible engagement.

  8. Overall Camp: Provides a holistic evaluation of the camp's operations, emphasizing the integration of responsible practices.

  9. Community Relations: Examines the camp's engagement with local communities, promoting positive relationships and community development.

  10. Conservation: Focuses on the camp's contributions to conservation initiatives, highlighting efforts to protect and preserve elephant populations.


Understanding our in-depth process

ACES prides itself on being an independent entity committed to ensuring the highest standards of welfare. Our professional auditors are trained to evaluate and monitor compliance with all criteria.

When conducting audits, several key features distinguish our approach:

  1. Experienced Auditors: Our auditors are professionals with real world experience in the elephant field, bringing a wealth of knowledge and understanding to the assessment process.

  2. Comprehensive Audit: The audit is conducted over the course of a full day, allowing our auditors to thoroughly assess all aspects of the camp's operations.

  3. Access to Unseen Areas: ACES auditors go beyond the visible tourist areas, delving into spaces that are not typically accessible to visitors. This ensures a comprehensive evaluation of the camp's facilities and practices.

  4. Inclusive Communication: Communication is paramount in our audits. Our auditors engage with all team members, including management and Mahouts. Proficient in the local language, they establish a direct line of communication to gain insights from every perspective.

  5. Document Verification: To substantiate the evaluation, our auditors check all available documents related to the camp's activities. This thorough examination includes paperwork and behind-the-scenes processes, providing a holistic understanding of the camp's adherence to standards.

ACES maintains a commitment to transparency, accountability, and the promotion of responsible elephant tourism. Our assessments are not just about meeting criteria but ensuring a genuine dedication to the well-being of elephants and the overall enhancement of the visitor experience.




Join the Responsible Elephant Venue Movement: ACES certification


By aligning with ACES' internationally recognized standards, camps can distinguish themselves as leaders in responsible tourism and elephant welfare, aspects that are increasingly important to tourists, NGOs, and international policy-makers.


ACES invites elephant tourist camps to elevate their status by achieving international certification. Please see more on our website: https://www.elephantstandards.com/



* Vanitha, V., K. Thiyagesan, and N. Baskaran. 2009. Socio-Economic Status of Elephant Keepers (Mahouts) and Human–Captive Elephant Conflict: A Case Study from the Three Management Systems in Tamil Nadu, Southern India. Gajah 30:8-12.



NOTES TO EDITORS


For media inquiries, please contact:


Georgina Ashby, ACES, georgina@elephantstandards.com 



About ACES

Asian Captive Elephant Standards (ACES) is the independent, reliable and transparent link between the tourism industry and captive elephant welfare. Our camp guidelines were developed in 2015 and after much consultation we developed in 2024 a set of over 222 strict camp criteria. All criteria have been independently validated by international specialists in elephant management, veterinary care, and animal welfare. Our goal is to ensure Asian elephant welfare while meeting the needs of the community and tourism stakeholders.

For more information, please visit https://www.elephantstandards.com/

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