About the Elephant Volunteer Project
Nestled between lush vegetation and magnificent mountains is our elephant retirement volunteer project in Mae Chaem, Thailand. It was established in 2011 and aims to educate owners, mahouts, and local communities about the elephant situation in Thailand. It also offers a safe and ethical home for owners to retire their elephants.
The project has rescued and permanently retired two older elephants. They now live freely, away from the forced work in trekking camps or the mass tourism industry. In their new home they can play to their heart’s content and enjoy a high quality of life. They are no longer forced to work in cruel and harmful environments that are devastating to these gentle giants.
This special Thailand Elephant Sanctuary also rescues, rehabilitates and releases local wildlife. They have successfully released many owls, small lizards and even baby native forest rats. They provide a haven for dogs, cats, and other small animals and are currently caring for roughly 15 rescued cats and 17 rescued dogs.
Our project also works within the local community. This includes teaching English to children and community members, providing locals with employment opportunities and supporting local businesses. To encourage sustainability, we also grow seasonal crops at the sanctuary.
All parts of the programme are an incredibly important contribution to wildlife conservation in the region.
Volunteering with Elephants in Thailand
The project depends on volunteers to help the elephant sanctuary thrive and to support community development programmes. You will have the chance to observe, learn about, and support elephant welfare in a proactive way. Volunteering with elephants means you will be involved in a range of tasks, such as;
- Observing the Elephants (hiking to see them in the forest/fields)
- Preparing night food and Enrichment for the elephants
- Placing Food and Enrichment throughout the night enclosures
- Going to cut grass/corn/banana trees for elephants
- Learning about the elephants and elephant welfare in Thailand
- Helping with Projects either onsite or in the local area that help the elephants, rescued animals and the community.
Please note, for ethical reasons, this volunteering opportunity is strictly hands-off. This means you will not be touching or interacting with the elephants directly.
Another main focus of this project is small animal rescue and release volunteer work. In the past. volunteers have rescued tortoises and different species of owls. These little creatures have then been successfully rehabilitated and released back into the wild. You will have the chance to be involved in this uplifting process which includes activities like building animal enclosures, making beds for animals, fixing fences, and others.
In addition to your work with elephants and local wildlife, we promote eco-tourism and environmental conservation. This is done through tree planting, local education and community development. Volunteers have the opportunity to work together with the community and can join projects like:
- Teaching English
- Helping with educational programmes
- Tree planting and clean-up days
- Providing soy milk for the elderly for nutrition
- Thai cooking lessons
- Replacing water pipes
- Flood protection
- Helping to repair local houses and so on
“A truly ethical experience, observing retired elephants just be elephants. This Sanctuary is a place where roles have been reversed and humans now work for them. By joining our programme you are helping give these majestic animals a happy retirement” – Quote from Sanctuary co-Founder