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Mason Elephant Park: Where Love of Elephants Reigns Supreme

Bali’s Mason Elephant Park in Ubud Cited for Highest Standard of Elephant Care

Bali’s Mason Elephant Park & Lodge has become the first elephant park in Asia to be awarded Gold Certification from Asian Captive Elephants Standards (ACES).

Asian Captive Elephants Standards (ACES) is an independent enterprise providing elephant camps with the methodology, guidance, and on-site support to ensure all captive elephants are receiving the highest level of care possible. ACES works with camps, parks, governments, local communities and industry bodies to provide the best outcome for elephants living in captive circumstances. Monitoring and evaluation is carried out through a rigorous assessment and audit process conducted by an experienced team of elephant specialists, veterinarians, researchers, and conservationists.

ACES assess elephant camps throughout Southeast Asia where captive elephants working in tourism must meet 119 mandatory criteria to obtain a pass, and meet even more rigorous standards to earn higher levels of accreditation. ACES scrutinizes every aspect of park and camp management including elephant shelters, diet, veterinary care, socialization, feeding, riding, physical and mental enrichment, staff training and entitlements, together with many other facets of camp care.

For the last 2 years, Mason Adventures has worked closely together with ACES, successfully fulfilling 100% of the initiative’s strict criteria and over 90% of the even more demanding advanced criteria to develop all aspects of park operation involving elephants, staff, and guests at the Mason Elephant Park & Lodge that is renowned for its commitment to creating a sustainable future for the critically-endangered Sumatran elephants.

Commenting on the accreditation from ACES, Nigel Mason, the founder of Mason Adventures, said: “This is a big step in the right direction. Sadly there are still too many elephant camps across Asia that mistreat and brutalize the elephants supposedly under their care, and consequently, this has set a false precedent (sic) that generalizes all elephant parks to be the same and inhumane.”

During an official hand-over event for the certification was used by Mason Adventure as an opportunity to showcase all the many new additions and modifications across the Ubud Park to a wide cross-section of Bali’s tourism industry and media.

Commenting on the certification, the director of ACES, Nicolas Dubrocard, stated: “The Mason Elephant Park is an exceptional example of elephant-based tourism. All elephants are well socialized, provided with strong enrichment opportunities and receive the best veterinary and nutritional care available. We are proud of all the hard work the team at Mason Adventures have invested into their park and elephants, and this accreditation is very much deserved”.

The Sumatran elephant is counted among the world’s top 10 most endangered species, together with the Sumatran rhino, Sumatran tiger, and orangutan. The situation for these endangered creatures still living in the wild is in rapid decline in Indonesia to which experts give the dubious distinction of being the nation considered to have the fastest and still escalating rate of deforestation in the world.

Wild Sumatran elephants numbers are currently estimated at less than 800, and at the current rate of extinction, experts warn that there may no longer be any elephants left in the wild within the next ten years.  Wild elephants in Sumatra that aren’t poached or killed off by farmers protecting their crops are often herded into miserable local holding camps, where reports of insufficient nourishment, inadequate medical care, and reports of animals left tethered in the sun for days on end have reduced the average life expectancy to between 2 – 7 years for an animal that should live to 48 years.

The situation for wild elephants in Sumatra is dire and uncertain, as deforestation for agricultural projects, including palm oil plantations, has devastated the habitat of these animals.

Meanwhile, the Mason Elephant Park & Lodge is playing an active role in species propagation through its successful natural breeding program, with the fifth healthy baby elephant born in the park occurring in June 2019, adding up to the current healthy and very pampered herd of 32 elephants now living at the park, with even more female elephants in active gestation – a period that can consume 18-22 months.

Related Links

At 121 Kilograms, a Labor of Love 

Mason Adventures Turns 30!

Mason Adventure Elephant Park 

Asian Captive Elephant Standards

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