Wildlife conservation and community volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Elephant Sanctuary Volunteer Project, Cambodia

2-8 Weeks from

18+ for individual - families 8+
minimum age

  • Observe elephants in their natural habitat
  • Assist with the daily work of an Ethical Elephant sanctuary
  • Live and work in a vast tropical forest in Cambodia
  • Meet people from around the world

About the Elephant Sanctuary Project

Volunteers observing elephants in forest

This Elephant sanctuary was created to make a home for injured and overworked elephants in Mondulkiri, Cambodia. It currently looks after and cares for eleven elephants that are retired from working, and now roam free within the 1,500 hectares of natural jungle habitat. The vast amount of space allows the elephants to roam and escape from human activity during most of the day. In exchange for retiring their elephants, the owners receive a monthly compensation. This way, the project supports the freedom and care of elephants, and also the local communities in providing work and protecting their natural resources.

It is a vast eco-tourism site surrounded by protected forest and local farms. This sanctuary has been developed in close partnership with the local indigenous Bunong community of Pu Trom, and sits within their community forest. Regular tourists also come to visit the site during the year. No riding, feeding or swimming with elephants are taking place, and you will mainly be watching and learning about the elephants from a distance.

A typical 2 week placement at the Elephant Volunteer Project

Volunteers will be staying at the project site for 2 weeks (minimum), and will spend the first couple of days as an induction, learning about the project, meeting the different families of elephants and learning about the forest, community, conservation and the elephants themselves. The rest of the time you will combine elephant observation, learn to complete elephant health checks and sometimes have the opportunity to help undertake research projects (if we have researchers and projects running at the time).  You will also leave the programme understanding more about Asian elephants, their health and wellbeing and become a true advocate for their conservation.

During the programme, you will also contribute by volunteering onsite, to really get involved in what it takes to run an elephant sanctuary!  You will be able to join local staff to help out on our farms to grow supplementary food for the
elephants (e.g. bananas and bamboo), working in our reforestation project growing or planting endangered tree
species depending on season or help out with small construction and maintenance projects like trails, elephant
treatment area maintenance, building bridges – all so the project continues to develop as a facility for elephant care. We love to know in the application if you have any skills you think could help out on the programme, e.g. building,
plumbing, horticulture, vets etc, so we can try and plan projects where we can utilise their skills. All projects are
dependent on the time of year e.g. rainy & dry season and the jobs that are required to be completed onsite that

By week two, each volunteer will be given daily tasks to be completed around the site and can work on their volunteer
projects to be completed, whilst also still spending tons more time with the beautiful elephants.

You can also add additional weeks to the volunteer placement, where volunteers have the opportunity to become a
team leader supporting the new volunteer arrivals, assist leading volunteer sessions and visitor check ins, together
with lots more elephant time.

Volunteers cutting grassA typical day at the project begins at 7 AM with breakfast, and around 8 AM volunteers will either head out to visit the elephants or get into some volunteer work. The structure of the days can vary depending on staffing and short-term visitor numbers. Lunch is served daily and the lunch breaks are long with plenty of time to read or have a nap in a hammock. Following lunch, volunteers will either go out to see elephants or do volunteer activities depending on the schedule. The days end in the late afternoon from which time volunteers are free, with dinner served around 6:30 PM.

Please note this is a dynamic project and this schedule may change. Sometimes there are opportunities to attend cultural festivals with the village, or work projects off-site. However, we cannot guarantee that any of these events will occur during your time volunteering. After the first week, the weekend is free time spent in Sen Monorom.

Elephant Sanctuary Volunteer Project, Cambodia

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