Volunteering with elephants in Thailand
Remember that you must treat animals with respect, love and affection and that when you interact with one, it is to help and give a dose of love, and not the other way around. Also get ready to receive all the love that only they know how to give and the way you least expect, in the case of elephants is sometimes with a good water hose coming directly from their tubes.
It is well known that elephants are one of the most impressive and admirable animals on earth, but also one of those who has suffered the most abuse to be domesticated. In the elephant sanctuary they will explain in detail how to give a solution to this problem so that the parties involved (elephants and people) can live together in a peaceful way.
One of the biggest challenges at the elephant center is getting enough food for them and keeping them happy and healthy. Mothers easily weigh three or four metric tons, and typically eat more than 300 pounds of vegetation per day. And when they are breastfeeding, their daily dietary needs increase substantially.
Just helping to harvest grass, corn, bananas and other treats makes a big difference in the lives of these elephants. By donating your time and resources to a project like this, you are contributing more than you imagine in the lives of elephants.
In the elephant care project in Thailand, you will also have the opportunity to work with local villagers, most of whom are staff members and their families. Most of these people come from minority ethnic groups in northern Thailand and are eager to learn and practice English with visiting volunteers.
WHAT WILL I DO AS A VOLUNTEER?
The 100 kilogram elephants spend the day exploring the world and accumulating some important trunks-on experience under mom’s watch. So the volunteer day starts very early, around 6:30 a.m. with the following routine:
- The first thing is to go to the river to bathe the mothers and babies before feeding them.
- After that, volunteers and staff take a moment for breakfast before starting daily chores. Usually these are: from harvesting grass to making herbal medicine balls for the elephants.
As a volunteer, you will join the full-time staff and help with tasks and activities at the facility. In addition to interacting with visitors for a day at the camp, informing them about some of the important details of the conservation work being carried out at the centre.
WHAT DAYS AND DATES CAN I VOLUNTEER?
TIMETABLE AND PICK-UP POINT
- The meeting point is Chiang Mai International Airport, trains and buses.
- Pick up time is from 8:00 to 20:00 hours. If you arrive outside these hours, you will be picked up the next day at an agreed point.
WHERE WILL I BE AND WHAT WILL MY SCHEDULE BE DURING VOLUNTEERING?
- During induction and orientation the volunteer stays in Chiang Mai (usually Saturday and Sunday) in the volunteer accommodations in this city. On Monday they are taken to the project and on weekends they return to the Chiang Mai accommodation.
- Collaboration takes place from Monday to Friday, starting around 6:30 in the morning.
The clothing required in the project is:
- For the activities you will carry out as a volunteer at the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, it will be necessary for you to wear clothes that you don’t want (old), as well as shoes that you don’t like very much and that you can put in through the mud.
- It is recommended that you put in the suitcase long thin trousers and short wind or raincoat, as the evening is usually cool. By the place where the project is located there are usually mosquitoes and this type of clothing helps to protect you.
Your general coordinator in Thailand is Todd, apart from the project coordinator who will be the person who will be with you during your volunteering in the project.
HOW ARE THE LODGING AND MEALS?
- The day you arrive and the two of orientation, you sleep in the lodgings in Chiang Mai.
- During the collaboration the volunteer stays in the elephant camp.
The accommodation includes the following:
- Bed in a room you share with other volunteers
- The 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
- Hot water
- Use of common areas