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Captive Elephant Welfare Initiative

Elephants in captivity are an ethical concern in the tourism industry. The rapid growth in tourism’s demand for interaction with elephants across Asia coupled with inadequate government regulations has resulted of poor treatment of these animals in many of the elephant facilities. Other facilities however are working in compliance with the best achievable practices in close partnership with elephant experts and universities. Up to date no international accepted standard and related assessment system was existing. The so-called Elephant Camp Animal Welfare Standard and Assessment initiative aims to recognise the better camps and to motivate those not yet complying towards better animal welfare.

Elephants in Asia

With over 3000 years of captive elephant history and given that there are over ten thousand captive elephants in Asia it is important to establish scientific facts, respect local culture and lay down solid foundations that ensure the welfare of captive elephants as well as their traditional mahouts.

Despite calls for action from various animal rights groups, their approach is often not based on scientific facts, does not engage mahouts and elephant (family) business, does not present achievable solutions nor looks at long term sustainability and the survival of the species as such.

We believe responsible tourism encouraging elephant experiences of the highest standard is the most immediate, viable solution. We believe by engaging stakeholders to seek holistic improvements and setting standards across the industry, more can be done to protect elephants than by staging boycotts or signing pledges. Hard work and hard choices based on scientific facts, balancing the interest of individual Elephants, the mahouts, and the conservation of the Asian Elephant, are required by all involved.

Leading Asian tour operators with support of Travelife for Tour Operators, the Asian Captive Elephant Working Group (ACEWG) and PATA have therefore initiated a process to establish a widely supported set of standards and criteria as a guideline and reference for elephant camps. The Elephant Camp Animal Welfare Initiative will provide tour operators as well as their clients the ability to make an informed, ethical choice

Information meeting for Thai Elephant camp owners and managers (August 2017)

The standard

The standard is based upon international animal welfare and sustainability principles including the Asian Captive Elephant Working Group (ACEWG) principles for captive elephants. The standards have also been subject to consultation from individual elephant experts from various disciplines (e.g. elephant veterinarians, mahouts, behavioural experts, biologist, animal learning experts, researchers). Based on a careful process a final draft of the standard was reached in 2017. The standard includes more than 160 criteria divided over 7 themes and 24 subthemes and provides detailed guidelines for the camps as well as the external assessor covering not only the elephants but also the staff, mahouts, sustainable business practices and the relation with the local communities. Elephant camps that comply with the highest of standards treat their elephants in the best possible manner and are committed towards a process of permanent improvement. The scientific based guidelines cover, for example cruelty free learning science based training techniques, closely monitored and regulated working hours, rest periods throughout the day – ideally in a forested area to socialize, bathe and relax and more. Responsible camps have veterinarians on staff, and/or provide regular health checks. Elephants are not tied up with chains of lengths less than 2 metres for prolonged periods of time. Good camps work with local communities providing jobs, marketing local handicrafts and purchasing local supplies to ensure everyone benefits. Camps promoting best practices also actively support and engage in research and conservation projects protecting animals in the wild.

Any interactions between elephants and tourists are based on scientific standards and do not compromise the welfare of the elephants or endanger humans. Most importantly, all good camps register their elephants with the relevant government department, complete with DNA testing to ensure no wild stocks are being captured and added to the captive population. The assessment is designed to ensure standards set by leading experts are being met and improved.

Currently more than 30 elephant facilities from Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia and Indonesia have enrolled in the program and are under assessment. They are committed to improvements to comply with the standard.

Supporting tour operators
The initiative is supported by a growing number of Asian tour operators including:.

When you travel with the tour operators supporting this initiative you can be assured that any elephant experience suggested is being held to the highest of international standards and practices. In this way we believe we are effectively contributing to the protection and preservation of elephants in Asia.

The destination management companies (DMCs) and tour operators involved in this initiative will also no longer work with any elephant camp that refuses to be audited or assessed as complete transparency is needed in all aspects of the operations to gauge and ensure responsible practices are indeed in place. Thus financial gains are directed to those working on improving and ensuring the long term welfare of their captive elephants and staff and not to those operating unethically or purely for profit or under false (animal welfare) pretences.

So yes, elephants in captivity is an ethical concern under current circumstances but by working together and using tourism as a powerful tool in the right way, we can ensure the long-term quality if life of thousands of captive elephants throughout Asia and provide clients with an inspiring experience, whilst improving the lives of all involved and preserving local culture and heritage.

Animal welfare auditor and advisor training (Chiang Mai, August 2017)

For more information please contact:

PATA Sustainability: ssr@PATA.org
Travelife for Tour Operators: info@travelife.info
Asian Captive Elephant Working Group: http://acewg.org

Resources

http://sustain.pata.org/interview-dr-andrew-mclean-human-elephant-learning-program/

Statement

http://sustain.pata.org/captive-elephant-welfare-initiative/

http://acewg.org/news/

www.travelife.info/index_new.php?menu=projects&lang=en

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Credit: Sereechai Puttes, Time Out Bangkok

SOS Thailand’s COO tells us how we can get more out of food waste

Bangkok is a huge buffet city, with hotels and restaurants offering daily eat-all-you-can feasts or Sunday brunch specials. Many of these buffets prepare more food than their guests can consume—better be safe than have to deal with hungry, disgruntled customers complaining that there wasn’t enough roast beef.

But have you ever wondered what these restaurants do with all their excess food? Most become food waste, ending up in trash bins and, later, landfills. (64 percent of Bangkok landfills are made up of food waste.) Have you ever wondered if there was any way you could perhaps make sure that all these surplus food doesn’t just go to the bin? An NGO in Thailand has.

Read the full article to find out more here.

By Gail Piyanan and Thana Boonlert for Time Out Bangkok.

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Bamboo Straws Poolside at Anantara Golden Triangle (Credit: unknown via Mark Thomson)

Anantara and AVANI Hotels & Resorts are proud to announce the decision to end the use of plastic drinking straws at all hotels and resorts in Asia from 1 January 2018. The first major hotel brands to announce a companywide decision to eradicate plastic straws at every single property across the Asia region with a view to extend the roll out to properties in Australasia, Europe and the Middle East by the end of the year.

In the serene mountainous region of Northern Thailand, Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort is working with a local artist, Khamchan Yano, who was shown by the village elders a fast growing wild bamboo, indigenous to the surrounds. Together they have perfected a way to keep the bamboo strong whilst also ensuring it is hygienic and reusable.

Read the full article on the initiative here.

By Mark Thomson on LinkedIn.

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Water feature: Aqualagon with its amazing water slides is the main attraction. Photograph: Luc Boegly

There’s some weirdness attached to Villages Nature, the Disney-imagineered vision of rustic life, but the waterslides are amazing and there’s lots for kids to do

Welcome to the strangely disconcerting world of Villages Nature, 20 miles east of Paris and less than three hours on Eurostar direct from London St Pancras. All of this was once disused farmland until Disney and its partner, Pierre et Vacances (which owns Center Parcs Europe), transformed it into a 300-acre eco-resort; a “haven where guests can disconnect and feel at one with nature”. In other words, the polar opposite of the offering up the road – Disneyland Paris. Their hope is that families will be curious to try both these different worlds. It’s easy to see the appeal: when the children are done with Hyperspace Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean, you can escape back here to the serenity of your Scandi-chic apartment, a gloriously Disney princess-free zone.

Read the full article to find out more about the features of Disneyland’s new eco-resort here.

By  for The Guardian.

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Credit: Shutterstock

 

Winter is back in many parts of our precious world. Skiing and snowboarding trips are on the calendar around the globe. Do you also have a snowy escape lined up? If so, keep on reading to find out how to make your carbon footprint of this trip a barely discernible snowshoe imprint.

To begin, find eco-friendly ski and snowboard equipment – from the actual skis/snowboard to clothing to wax and more. You may also source used equipment instead of buying new to reduce waste to landfill. Remember that you can always recycle/donate used gear that is still in good used condition. Choose jackets, scarves, gloves and boots that are previously loved or made from recycled material. Fleece products, for example, are often made from recycled plastic bottles.

Get to the slopes by using shared shuttle services or other public transportation instead of a personal car. This will help to reduce carbon emissions, air pollution and noise – not to mention eliminate the worry of your car getting stuck in the snow! Check out these ‘car-free’ and ‘no-car-needed’ ski resorts when choosing your holiday destination. Choosing an accommodation and ski resort that is dedicated to greening the slopes will help to lower the negative environmental impact or even result in a carbon neutral holiday. Look for opportunities to offset your footprint. Read more about how one ski resort aims at cutting carbon emissions to zero in the future.

All set for going down the slopes? For more food for thought on your next active winter vacation, read about the environmental impact of ski resorts and solutions and alternatives here. Let’s all go green so we can keep our slopes powdery!

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TaxiBot in action at Frankfurt Airport. Driven by electric motors, the tractors are real powerhouses — the narrow-body model has around 500 kilowatts of drive output (approximately 800 hp). Credit: Lufthansa LEOS

 

Until now, airplanes have had to use their own turbines to travel from the gate to the runway. But thanks to drive technology from Siemens, an all-new diesel-electric towing tractor controlled from a plane’s cockpit can now perform this task. Known as TaxiBots, the tractors save fuel, extend maintenance intervals, and cut noise. Already certified for the Airbus 320, TaxiBots will soon be able to safely pull about 70 percent of all the passenger planes worldwide.

Read the full article on this environmentally friendly taxiing solution here.

By Christine Rüth and Sebastian Webel for Siemens’ Pictures of the Future.

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Tips to avoid food waste from Mario Batali, other top chefs in Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Wasted!’

Categories: Food & Beverage, Planet, Recommended Reading, Waste
Comments Off on Tips to avoid food waste from Mario Batali, other top chefs in Anthony Bourdain’s ‘Wasted!’

Wait not, waste not: Chef Mario Batali says to “prep ingredients when you first bring them home, immediately after shopping.” (WASTED!)

 

Chew on this: American families chuck 25% of the food and beverages they buy. On average, that means $1,820 per household gets thrown away annually. The U.S. isn’t alone. Around the globe, 1.3 billion tons of food gets tossed per year.

Those are just two eye-opening bites from the documentary “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste,” out Oct. 13. Produced by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and directed by Emmy Award winners Anna Chai and Nari Kye, the film seeks to change how people buy, cook and eat food.

Read the full article on how to avoid food waste here.

By Joe Dziemianowicz for New York Daily News.

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The aviation industry is responsible for two percent of global emissions. If you care about the environment but also love travelling you can help to reduce your impact by utilising your airline loyalty mileage.

 

Buying carbon offsets

Choose an airline that offers carbon offsetting opportunities. The majority of airlines, including major carriers such as United and Thai, offer voluntary carbon offsets when selling tickets so that customers may elect to compensate by supporting a carbon reduction project.

 

More information on carbon emission calculations is provided by the International Air Transport Association’s Carbon Offset Programme. Read more about carbon offset programmes here.

 

Donating mileage and reward points

Donate your air miles to environmental charities such as carbonfund.org which helps people and businesses to reduce and offset climate impact. You may also donate your miles to initiatives such as Cathay Pacific’s FLY greener programme.

 

You can also buy carbon offsets from projects that reduce CO2 emissions. This is an excellent way of utilising your loyalty mileage before the expiration date. Programmes may also be available for businesses and for cargo shipments.  Get ideas as about how you can donate your air miles.

 

Using mileage for eco-friendly products

Look for programmes that enable you to use your air miles for products that are environmentally friendly. For example, Air Canada’s My Planet programme allows customers to use rewards and points to purchase eco-friendly products and services – from electric scooters to organic cotton sheets.

 

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Discussing how to reduce buffet waste during a panel discussion at the Ideo offices in New York. John Taggart for the New York Times.

Lawrence Eells, the executive chef at the Hyatt Regency Orlando, in Florida, would like his kitchen, or at least its operations, to be as lean as his roast beef. So in April, he welcomed a team of researchers looking at ways to reduce food waste, especially around the abundant all-you-can-eat buffets.

Their initial finding — that guests ate just over half of the food put out — surprised almost everyone. Perhaps even more striking was that only 10 to 15 percent of the leftovers could be donated or repurposed because of food safety regulations, while the rest ended up in the garbage. The sizable waste generated by coffee, juices and other liquids added to the conundrum.

Read the full article to find out ways found to reduce food waste in hotels. 

 

By Linda Himelstein for The New York Times. 

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Startup helps Ikea save 350,000 meals from the trash can

Categories: Food & Beverage, Recommended Reading
Comments Off on Startup helps Ikea save 350,000 meals from the trash can

Credit: Shutterstock

 

A startup is turning waste into wealth by helping companies like Ikea slash the amount of food they throw away.

 

The global hospitality industry trashes food worth $100 billion a year, estimates Winnow, which says its technology can save commercial kitchens big bucks and stop good food going to waste.

Winnow shows chefs how much they’re wasting in real time, and what it costs their employers.

Retail giant Ikea estimates that Winnow (and U.S. competitor LeanPath) have helped its in-store restaurants save the equivalent of 350,000 meals worth nearly $900,000 in just eight months.

 

Read how Winnow is helping restaurants like IKEA slash the amount of food they throw away. 

By Jim Boulden @CNNMoney

 

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