Volunteer with elephants in Thailand: the low down

Volunteer with elephants in ThailandVolunteer with elephants in Thailand

Oyster is proud to be working with a life-changing project for elephants in Thailand. Traditionally not a country with similar animal welfare policies to in the western world, the elephant park in Surin strives to bring peace, comfort and purpose to the lives of ex-working and ex-performing elephants. Taking the elephants away from the undignified and cruel life of dancing for tourists or begging in the streets, this important project offers a better life for Thai elephants and their carers- the mahouts.

Background information about the project

The park is home to over 200 elephants that were made redundant after the logging industry became industrialised, and once street begging had been made redundant. The park is a place for the elephants and their mahouts to live in comfort, without having to subject themselves to street begging, which reduces the life expectancy of elephants by up to 50%. Working hands on with 12 elephants and their mahouts, striving to bring purpose and motivation back to their lives.

What will I be doing?

The volunteer’s role is varied, and no one day is the same. The main point of the role is to encourage the mahouts and their elephants to be out and about, exercising and enjoying the great outdoors. Without the presence of volunteers to take the ellies out to bathe, walk with them through the mountains and prepare food for them, the elephants will rarely leave their homes and their chains. To volunteer with elephants in Thailand, on a project such as this, really means saving the elephants from street performing cruelty.

How does this make a difference?

The volunteer’s role is essential in the running of the sanctuary. Giving the mahouts and elephants a reason for getting out and getting the elephants out of their chains is such an important role to play. The more volunteers, the more elephants that can be involved in the programme- the centre is continually growing.

How is the project unique?

You wake up to the call of the ellies next door. You see the sun rise in the rainforest, and set from the top of the adjacent mountains. You are making such a difference to the lives of these ellies, by giving them the freedom and the feeling of the wild that they have never before had. The park is striving to abolish using elephants for tourism such as making them play football, dance and paint with their trunks.

What is Thailand like?

Thailand is now a country with a booming tourist trail, very popular with holidaymakers and backpackers alike. It is very vibrant, with beautiful beaches, great scenery and a buzzing nightlife. However, step away from the touristy areas and explore the country, and you will find a beautiful and somewhat wild country, that very much holds on to its traditions, with many hill tribes and monasteries. The elephant park is located in the Surin province, and is very much offering the opportunity to explore a different side to Thailand.

Where will I be staying?

The accommodation is on a home-stay basis, sharing with one other volunteer. Meals will be provided with the families. The accommodation is on the site- so do expect to hear the ellies waking up in the morning! There are western showers and toilets, and the water is heated by the sun- so do expect refreshingly cool showers!

More information

You can find out more information about this on www.oysterworldwide.com or by contacting Anne on anne@oysterworldwide.com or on 0044 (0) 1892 770 771.

Elephant volunteering Thailand

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