YOUR SAFETY, SUPPORT AND BACKUP:
Read important information about the Support & Backup you receive before you leave and during your programme.
Read about the Safety and Security measures we take to ensure your safety and wellbeing while on our programme.
WHY THE PROJECT NEEDS VOLUNTEERS:
- The more volunteers who can help look after the elephants, the more elephants can
be taken in and given a decent quality of life.
- The funds raised from taking volunteers will also help to expand and develop a structure
that can take in more and more of the displaced elephants.
- A few reasons: One is for the money to help support the work they are doing and
support the elephants and Mahouts.
- Having volunteers gives the Mahouts a purpose to their days and an objective - helping
the elephants. Volunteers help to engender a positive environment and experience
for the Mahouts, which in turn gives them a pride in caring for the elephants and
a purpose to their lives
- Volunteers help the elephants! Like people, elephants are intelligent and love interaction.
It stops them getting bored (and being chained up). Volunteers help to stimulate
the elephants mentally and give them an interest, which is vital to the elephants'
- The Project's goal is to goal is to establish sustainably managed elephant tourism.
It hopes that the more people who see and learn about the importance of what they
are doing, the more this will help bring more support to the region, the community
and the elephants.
The impact that this project will have for elephant conservation is huge. There
over 300 elephants registered in the province and the vast majority of them
are trapped in the unfortunate trade of street begging. This is a terrible life
for elephants. They require literally hundreds of kilos of fresh vegetables and
clean water daily ... and street begging reduces an elephant’s life expectancy by
at least 50%.
The goal is to have families of elephants freely roaming in natural habitat and
their Mahouts (carers) to be provided with a steady income that will replace the
income they currently derive from using the elephants for street begging. The Government has already set aside over 2000 acres of land, enough to maintain a breeding
population of 300 elephants, which is approximately 10% of the existing population
of Asian elephants in captivity in Thailand. Here we have a chance to change
history – to save the Asian elephant from extinction and give them a life worth
living for generations to come.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BOOK YOUR PLACEMENT?
Once you have applied for a placement, we'll contact you and send you our Welcome
Pack. You'll also receive Log-on details and password for our Volunteer Extranet
where you'll have access to all the documentation and information which we've put
together to facilitate preparations for your adventure! Your Project Co-ordinator
for your country will liaise with you throughout the arrangements process, as well
as while you're on your placement and on your return home.
The documents you'll have access to also include a Country Factfile, Safety Guide
and any manuals that may assist you on your particular programme (e.g. Teaching
Guide, Sports Manuals, Enrichment Suggestions for Animal Care, etc.). We do all
we can to make your stay one that you'll never forget. This is a truly awesome,
elegant and beautiful country.
On Your Arrival: When you arrive at
Bangkok Airport, you'll be met by our Thailand Organiser and taken to a hotel to
stay overnight. The following day he'll pick you up and take you to the bus station
for the bus to the project. There you'll be met by the Project Organiser or one of
his staff and taken to the project site.
On arrival there you'll be introduced to all the other volunteers and the local
project team. Then you get to meet the elephants! Your adventure has begun :-)
ABOUT THE PROJECT AND A LITTLE HISTORY:
Historically, elephants were used to help with labouring work and for nearly 4,000
years the Mahout tribe in Thailand have been responsible looking after and training
the King's elephants. However, in the last 40 years the need for elephants has virtually
disappeared owing to industrial technology. This meant that many of the Mahouts
and elephants were reduced to begging and using elephants for street entertainment.
About 20 years ago, street begging and street entertainment was made illegal. Now
there is no income for the Mahouts and no money to feed and shelter the elephants.
The Thai government doesn't seem to know what to do with the elephants or the Mahouts
other than keeping them in an aimless existence. They created the Elephant
Park to accommodate them, but this place can be best described as simply a giant
refugee camp for elephants where the Mahouts are given a small amount of money by
the Thai government to simply stay alive, but without any direction or purpose to
The Foundation we work with was created to find a positive solution to this problem. There are over 200 elephants, but at the moment the Foundation only looks after
twelve elephants, but that number is slowly increasing as funds are raised to cover
the costs of looking after the elephants and the mahouts..
LOCATION | SIGHTSEEING:
Through consolidation of 3 small towns located on the bank of The Chao Phraya River
north of Ang Thong, these three small towns, Sing Buri, In Buri and Phrom Buri,
were then established as a new town on the west of the Chao Phraya River named as
Singburi in 1895.
Bangkok is not for the faint hearted! This is South East Asia’s largest, most frenetic,
over polluted, traffic congested capital city. But don’t let that put you off! This
will all become part of the charm.
By day and night, Bangkok is fast paced - this is a city for indulgence and fun,
with action at all hours. One of the best ways to appreciate the beauty of this
country is to live and breathe it:
- Visit the traditional floating markets on the outskirts of Bangkok, where traders
sell their wares from wooden boats, weighed down by kilos of bananas and other exotic
fruits as garlands of jasmine hang off the boats stern.
- Walk through China Town early in the morning and watch stall owners carry boxes
of merchandise that tower over them, weighing two or three times their body weight.
- Snack on some fresh pineapple or watermelon carefully sliced by a roadside vendor
as you soak in the sights and smells of the city before the midday heat encourages
you inside to air conditioned safety.
- Watch tuk tuk’s laden with people screech past, weaving in and out of traffic.
- Enjoy some freshly cooked Pad Thai from a street vendor. This is a mixture of noodles
and bean sprouts stir fried with an egg and served with a generous portion of chilli
sauce, or for the brave, a heaping of additional dried chilli.
- Take in sunset from a river cruise and marvel at Bangkok’s diverse skyline, from
modern gleaming skyscrapers to the pointed gold roof’s of glittering temples.
- Visit the Grand Palace, a decadent spectacle which used to be residence to the King
of Thailand and now has a temple for the Emerald Buddha.
The grand palace is one of the most striking pieces of art in Thailand, with gargoyles,
dragons and warriors incredibly re-constructed in glittering mosaics.