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Volunteer at an Elephant Sanctuary in Thailand Featured

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Location:  Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
Type of Assignment:  Animal Care
Project Duration:  Minimum 1 Week
Activities:  Caring for elephants and other community development projects.


The Organization

How is the project involved with the community?

The elephant sanctuary offers a place for retired elephants to be able to spend their old age wandering free in the forests outside of Chiang Mai. Here, volunteers use their time helping care for the elephants and watching the animals in their natural habitat. The elephants on the project have spent their entire lives working in logging, trekking and entertainment for tourism. Now, with the assistance of the project, the elephants have the opportunity to spend their days grazing on fresh bamboo from the forest and bathing in the river. The project is working with the elephant owners, local community, and tourists in education and conservation in order to assure the elephants a better quality of life free from abuse and exploitation.

Background to the project and its aims?

This new elephant sanctuary strives to provide an alternative solution in improving the quality of life for elephants and their owners. Previously, elephants in Thailand were mostly used for logging until the government banned the practice in 1989. Since then, thousands of families still rely on elephants as a primary source of their livelihood in practices such as trekking and entertainment. The elephants often experience much abuse and exploitation, often working until their dying day.

This community-based elephant retirement project is home to elderly elephants who have worked nearly all their lives, as well as home to domestic animals and rescues, and a temporary home to rehabilitating wildlife prior to release. The project offers a place for the el- ephants to experience a life similar to one they would in the wild. They also work with to bring sustainable measures to the local com- munity through education and development project.

What are the daily volunteer activities in the project?

Volunteers will be assisting with the everyday husbandry and care for the elephants. This includes cleaning elephant poo and sweeping the elephants shelter. Additional activities include helping prepare fruit and vegetables for the elephants, and cutting grass, corn, and banana trees for elephant food. There are also rescued domestic animals on site at the project. Volunteers should be comfortable being around both rescued cats and dogs.

Volunteers also spend their days walking the elephants through the jungle to the river, where they will spend their time at leisure observing the elephants in their natural environment, with a chance to spend time with the elephants in the water.

Volunteers should be prepared to participate in any community development projects, including teaching English to locals, planting trees, and other education and conservation projects. They should come in with an open mind, and with respect to the local Thai culture and customs.

Program Details

Quick facts about the trip:

Project duration:  Minimum 1 week
Project Location:  Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
Airport of arrival:  Chiang Mai (CNX)
Activities:  Caring for elephants and other community development projects.
Working hours: Monday to Friday from 8 am - 12 pm, (lunch break 2 hours) and from 2 pm - 5 pm.
Requirements:  Love for animals (no allergies to dogs or cats).

What's included:

Accommodation:  Homestay with local family, local Thai-style living: a mattress on the floor with mosquito net, shared western toilet or squat toilet and cold water showers only. 
Meals:  3 meals per day 7 days a week, except for breakfast the first day.
Local Transfer: Local transfer is available from Chiang Mai to the project location. Pick up on Monday mornings from hotel or guesthouse in Chiang Mai.
Pre-departure Orientation and Onsite Training::  Volunteers receive a comprehensive workshop on being a volunteer in the project, safety and security in the destination country, culture shock, and pre-departure preparations.
Support::  24/7 during your volunteering time.

What's not included:

Flights, visas, insurance, airport pickup.


Program Duration Cost (USD)
1 week 730.00
2 weeks 1,216.00
3 weeks 1,569.00
4 weeks 2,026.00

All Registration Fees are included in the prices above.