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Elephants in Northern Thailand are enjoying a new trend in treats – custom-made celebration cakes adorned with messages that acknowledge special milestones such as birthdays and anniversaries, making them a thoughtful gift for people looking to make a much-appreciated contribution to their welfare – and also support the local farmers who are undergoing an epic struggle to survive.

The cakes, which can be purchased in several sizes and from any country, contain a mixture of leafy bamboo, fruit and nutritious fortified rice meal and are presented to small groups of elephants at Thailand’s famous Elephant Nature Park (ENP). To provide a precious memento for the recipient, the whole event is filmed by Park staff and the footage provided to the celebrant.

“This has been the toughest year ever. Normally, the funds to feed and care for our 100 elephants come from our daily visitors’ admission fees.  Now, without that income, with around 100 elephants to feed and hundreds of other animals, plus our staff and their families, we need to think of new ways to support them. The cakes are a great way for us to earn some much-needed revenue. And they are also so valuable in supporting local farmers in the area as we use their produce to create them.”

The organization behind the initiative is Gentle Giants, a USA-based non-profit which promotes the personalized cakes as a novel, eco-friendly way to honour special anniversaries of loved ones.

Diana Munoz, founder of thegentlegiants.org is thrilled with the success of the program. “We receive ‘elephant cake’ orders from many countries.  We are so pleased to be able to contribute to the invaluable work of Lek and her team at ENP as well as support local farmers,” says Ms. Munoz, emphasizing that 100% of the money received for the cakes goes to the Park.