Thailand Elephant Sanctuary
Home to several elephants, this refuge is located in Kanchanaburi, approximately 150 kilometres east of Bangkok and offers a sustainable existence to rescued elephants that have been domesticated and previously forced to work on the streets and in the forests. As they are ex-working elephants, they are unable to survive in their natural habitat unassisted, but forests near to the refuge allow them to roam freely from late afternoon until early morning giving them the chance to display natural behaviour and to forage for their own food.
Thailand is home to both wild and domesticated populations of Asian elephants, characterised by their smaller ears in comparison to African elephants. Sadly, wild populations continue to dwindle and finding safe refuges for ex-working elephants can be difficult. You can contribute towards the care of these rescued elephants by taking a hands-on but ethical approach to their care. Tasks can include assisting with feeding times, helping to collect and forage for food, walking with the elephants and guiding them to nearby water sources so that they can swim and also cleaning their enclosure and shelter.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
Cultural Introduction week:
This placement will ensure you get the most out of your time in Thailand with a wide range of experiences, and you will take away a multitude of lasting memories. Those of you joining the project for more than one week will begin with the Siam Culture Week in Singburi. During this week you will receive culture, language, cooking lessons and more, which will help you to settle and feel more at home, whilst the temple and museum visits will give you a taste of the history of Thailand and the development of its national identity.
According to estimates by the World Wildlife Fund, there are only between 2,000 and 3,000 wild elephants remaining in Thailand, and this number continues to decline. Much of this trend can be attributed to the competition for land between local communities and the elephants, while domesticated elephants continue to roam throughout Thailand with their mahouts and are seen begging for food by performing tricks for tourists and taking them on their back.
Kanchanaburi manages a delicate balance between tradition and tourism. It’s surrounding limestone hills create and unimaginably beautiful landscape enhanced by its numerous bamboo-style buildings, stunning meandering rivers and unique temple caves. Kanchanaburi is truly one of Thailand’s natural gems and the perfect place to indulge in nature and spend time with elephants in our project.
The project takes place in a sanctuary where old, sick, disabled, previously abused or illegally-owned elephants now call a home. Here, we work for the elephants, not the other way around. This means there will be no elephant riding in the program. However, you will get the chance to experience and bond with these gentle giants by watching them bath and preparing their food, which typically comes in the form of Bana grass, sugarcane and banana plants. There are set activities for one week, and they repeat for subsequent weeks. You will usually be spending time alongside experienced mahouts, who invest their entire lives gaining an understanding of the elephants and how best to care for them.
Interested in this; ready to enquire?
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