Power to the pachyderms.

After PETA released disturbing footage of brutal mistreatment last year, sponsors of Anantara Hotel’s King’s Cup Elephant Polo Tournament dropped like flies. The annual tournament presented itself as a charity event raising money for the protection of elephants—an image that was shattered by the controversy, causing operations to cease.

This year, the Minor Hotel Group will replace the long-running tournament with a week-long string of festivities to raise funds for Thai National Elephant Day. From Mar 13-17, international teams, including Thailand’s Navy Seals, will race down the Chao Phraya River in elephant-themed dragon boats, while an educational art installation from Golden Triangle Elephant Foundation will take place on dry land.

The change marks a shift in the industry as a whole, with a rise in public awareness of the mistreatment of elephants fuelling the demand for more ethical, no-ride sanctuaries. Here’s hoping public pressure will continue to push a brighter future for Thailand’s peaceful pachyderms.

Anantara Riverside Bangkok, 257 Charoennakorn Soi 61, Thonburi,  02-476-0022