Witness the Karen people's amazing bond with the elephants of Chiang Mai, while exploring the breathtaking scenery in the surrounding mountains and waterfalls. Volunteers with be exposed to the tribal knowledge of the Karen people, and also given the opportunity to teach and pass on some of their own knowledge at the local school or through other community projects. The goal is to bring these elephants back into the forest, and their mahouts back to the village with their families, and to allow them to lead as natural of lives as possible. Working in the Mae Chaem District with the locals will allow each volunteer to be transported into an authentic cultural experience, while remaining not far from the modern wonders of Chiang Mai.
What's not Included
The Elephant Rescue and Conservation program takes place in the Mae Chaem District, five hours into the mountainous region of Chiang Mai. This remote region is known for its woven treasures, temples, waterfalls, and most importantly, as being a central location for the Karen people, a culture that has had a sacred relationship with the elephants in the region for over 100 years.
You will discover how to interpret elephant behavior during which time you will witness the direct impact of the program on the quality of life for the elephants in the region. You will be based in the village of Huay Pakoot and working in the surrounding forested area, nearby farmland, and within the local community.
Staff and volunteers follow the elephants on hikes throughout the forest and observe their social and foraging behaviors, monitoring them for their long-term health and well-being. There are a few times volunteers get to directly interact with the elephants, and this happens every other Monday when new volunteers get to meet the elephants, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays when we do health checks with them (looking them over for bumps, bruises, scratches etc.). When we're not observing them, the elephants socialize and forage independently, being checked on by their mahouts a few times a day.
The main outcome of the project is to support the community efforts to reintroduce rescued elephants into their natural habitat.
Tasks may include:
- Tracking elephants in the jungle
- Assisting with veterinary duties
- Monitoring elephant relocation programs
- Assisting on numerous village projects
- Discovering traditional food and native wildlife
Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:
- Enthusiasm and flexibility
- Police clearance form
- Motivation to work with animals
- Willingness to get hands dirty
- Work well in a team
- Travel and medical insurance
- Minimum age 18
- Immunizations (consult your doctor)
The program allows volunteers some personal time to discover the region and go on further adventures. Being northern Thailand's largest city, Chiang Mai offers diverse leisure and entertainment. The city boasts a modern attitude, with a selection of nightclubs, boutique hotels, night markets, and restaurants along the city boulevard. Chiang Mai still holds onto many ancient wonders making it a great place for sight seeing. Just outside of Chiang Mai, one is able to explore the wildlife and flora that is unique to Thailand; there is truly something fantastic to discover around every corner.
Program Add-Ons (Not Included):
Take your volunteering experience one step further! Through the Internship Certification Program, you’ll have a personal mentor who will help you develop leadership skills, routinely assess your progress and provide a professional reference upon completion of the program.
Please note that there is an additional cost for this program.