Amazing Volunteering with Elephants in Thailand
The Elephant Refuge Camp & Education Centre is a sanctuary located about 160 kilometres south west of Bangkok on monastery grounds that are part of a large Wildlife Rescue Centre, and it’s the perfect place to volunteer abroad with elephants. Nearby forests give our captive elephants the chance to roam around in their “original, natural” habitat. They spend from late afternoon until early morning on their own in the forest enabling them to display natural behaviour and to forage for themselves for food.
Thailand is home to both wild and domesticated populations of the Asian elephants. A domestic elephant is one who has been captured in the wild and tamed to live and work with a mahout (elephant keeper).
Today, Thailand’s wild population of elephants are struggling for survival. The nearby mountain forests are primary forest and in the valleys and lowlands, secondary forest. The wild elephants of Thailand (of which we estimate, there are only around 2000 left) live in open grass fields and dense rainforests all over the country. Historically, domestic elephants have been used mainly in the logging industry, ironically and unwillingly helping to destroy the very habitat they need to survive.
After the ban on logging, most of these elephants have ended up being used for the tourism industry or have had to make a living begging on the streets of big cities.Walking day and night on these dirty and traffic congested streets is dangerous and unhealthy and very often, these elephants end up being involved in horrific traffic accidents. Regrettably, in Thailand, there are no laws to prevent this abuse and mistreatment, therefore there is an urgent need to help these animals.
|DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION||Petchaburi, Thailand|
|INCLUDED||[icon_tick state=”on”]Shared Accommodations
[icon_tick state=”on”]Laundry Washing
[icon_tick state=”on”]All Meals
|NOT INCLUDED||[icon_tick state=”off”]Transportation to program location
[icon_tick state=”off”]Passport & Visa Fees
[icon_tick state=”off”]Travel/Medical Insurance
[icon_tick state=”off”]Personal Equipment
[icon_tick state=”off”]Days off Excursions/Costs
The accommodation is in basic bungalows within the wildlife centre. Each bungalow has its own (European style) toilet and shower and are mainly either two or three bedded. There is a large kitchen within the main volunteer house for making breakfast and hot drinks. Lunch and dinner is cooked for you. The volunteer house has a large seating area and TV and DVD player for the evenings. You must have a positive attitude towards group living and teamwork. Your stay at the centre will be basic and you will be expected to help with housework duties and keeping the volunteer house clean and tidy.
When volunteering with elephants, you will be taught everything you need to know about the care of these magnificent animals. You will work hands-on with the elephants, washing them, feeding them during the day, going out to collect food for them, taking them into our beautiful lake to swim and cleaning their enclosure. The financial contribution you make to the centre supports the costs of caring for the elephants and for your food and accommodation.
The sanctuary animals include gibbons, macaques, sun bears, Asiatic black bears, a tiger, a crocodile, civets and many others. Most of these animals have been previously kept as pets or tourist props and are now in very large enclosures or islands.
NOTE – The program spots fill up quickly during high season (June – August) so be sure to book at least 2-3 months in advance.
|Duration||1 week minimum|
|Qualifications/Experience||You must be able to speak English, be in good physical condition, and be able to tolerate a hot and humid climate|
Learn more about WFFT and their volunteer programs at www.wfft.org.