Situated in the northern part of Thailand, approximately 4 hours from Chiang Mai is where our volunteers spend their time working with elephants who once worked in tourist camps.
In Thailand it is almost impossible for elephants to get away from elephant keeping communities. These elephants now live in a more natural environment and being on this program, volunteers learn about the history, behavior, social interactions and also observe elephants alongside mahouts and in their natural habitat.
This program is a hands-off, ethical elephant project aimed at reintroducing Asian elephants to a natural living environment. The project was started by the village to find sustainable ways to keep their elephants in the forest.
There is also a large focus on community engagement & development.
You will partake in hikes each day with the elephants – they can be anything from 2-7 hours over rough terrain and can be quite physically demanding!
During hikes we collect data on elephant behaviors – specifically their interactions with each other and their mahouts and how they spend their time etc.
- Twice per week you will do health checks on the elephants during hikes to look for physical signs of ill-health
- You also have the option to participate in biodiversity hikes instead of the elephant hike, where you will be gathering data on plant, bird, reptile and insects.
- There is large focus on community work where volunteers have the option to get involved with – teaching English 3 days a week at the local primary school, twice a week to homestays, mahouts and women’s English groups. We also teach at the local kindergarten and nursery once a week and have after school clubs at the local nursery throughout the week
- Presentations about work and elephant tourism will be conducted throughout orientation week.
- Other village/cultural activities may include basket weaving, rice picking, tree planting, bamboo cup making, language lessons, etc.
- Social activities may include quiz nights, movies and games at communal base hut.
- There may also be optional night hikes.