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Elephant Community Refuge

Surin Province, Thailand

Elephant Community Refuge
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Project Information

Volunteer Type Volunteer

Cost of Project From $780 AUD

Duration Up to 8 weeks

Start Dates Every Monday, all year round

Work Roster 9am to 5pm

Age Requirement 18 years of age

Walk side by side with a herd of gentle giants as volunteers in Surin Province help to reintegrate elephants back into the wild. Working in conjunction with mahout owners, your contribution will ensure economic sustainability through this tourism initiative, giving the local community and government the necessary tools to succeed. Volunteers will be immersed in Thai culture, offering an experience of a lifetime.

  • Your Contribution

*Walking the elephants through forest area or releasing them into enclosure
*Feed and bathe the elephants
*General elephant care
*Harvesting crops
*Creating mud pits
*Building fences (both figuratively and literally!)
*Planting trees
*Assisting park vets (for student vets and medical specialists only)
*Cleaning and preparing elephant food
*Helping local villages through English language education programs
*Educating incoming volunteers and tourists on the issues facing elephants within Asia and overseas
*Assisting staff with mahouts while undertaking various educational tasks with park staff

  • A Typical Day

There is not really such a thing as a “typical day” for the Elephant Community Refuge, but there will be activities that are consistent and overlap with one and other. Following breakfast, staff will link up with fellow volunteers, conservation specialists and the local community members to walk the elephants through the forest or towards a monitored enclosure. This takes up approximately 2-3 hours of your day.

Amid this up close and personal activity with the elephants, you will be helping with the conservation and maintenance of the park. Planting trees, building and repairing fences, preparing food, harvesting crops and creating mud pits are all part of the excursion and tasks are varied during the week.

The central goal of this project is not just to have boots on the ground for physical assistance, but to be a living advocate for elephant welfare. Combining language lessons for young Thai school children and outreach activities, volunteers will help push the program towards a time where these beautiful creatures spend less time in chains and more in their natural habitat.

  • Skills Required

*Volunteers must be fluent in English, be willing to work and must be able to take direction staff.
*Ability to type in English and Thai with appropriate computer design and office application skills
*Ability to work well and integrate within a team environment
*A strong initiative, capacity to learn and dynamic personality
*Social network skills a major advantage

  • Challenges

There are numerous challenges facing the elephant conservation effort in Thailand. As the site operates to help remove the animals from an environment of captivity and abuse, there is a confronting reality to their plight. By working with the volunteers, you are making a tangible impact to help break these wonderful creatures from a cruel and unnecessary cycle that is human made. With anywhere between 150-200 elephants living at the Centre, the greatest challenge facing the project is the capacity to support only up to 12 elephants simultaneously, placing a strain on resources and human capital.

  • Accommodation

You will be living on site in basic but comfortable accommodation. You can have a room to yourself or share with a partner or friend if that is your preference.

  • Meals

Volunteers will eat together for every meal. The food is healthy and varied, with a buffet style breakfast, lunch and dinner with many different dishes to choose from. and vegetarian food is always available. All dietary restrictions are catered to. Local noodle shops and restaurants are the preference for lunch to help boost the local economy while sourcing some of the world’s best food in the region.

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