The Elephant Care project gives refuge to domesticated elephants that have been used in the logging and tourism industries.
You will support the team in caring for the rescued elephants at the centre; many of whom arrive with severe health problems and bear the scars of previous abuse. The extra support from volunteers is crucial to ensure that every animal receives the optimum level of care. Your work will also help to educate others on the importance of animal rights. You can also combine this role with Wildlife Rescue which is based at the same sanctuary.
Explore the beautiful local area and fascinating night markets in the popular destination of Hua Hin. Visit any of the three nearby national parks and see some wonderful wildlife!
Help the Elephant Care team to run the sanctuary and care for elephants in need.
Both the Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue roles are based at the same sanctuary and you can choose to either specialise in one role or combine the two roles.
The centre operates as a sanctuary to abused, neglected or injured animals. Volunteers work alongside local staff to care for nearly 20 Asian elephants. Each day will differ but elephant care volunteer tasks may include:
In addition to the above tasks, volunteers may also be involved in the construction or maintenance of enclosures, cleaning or developing the centre grounds / farmland, assisting with visitor tours and education.
Volunteers will also be allocated other duties which are shared between all volunteers. This includes caring for the rescued dogs and cats on site. For dogs in particular this means helping on bath days, feeding and removing ticks - please be prepared for dogs with poor skin conditions, which is common in Thailand. You may also be required to do domestic duties, assisting with the housekeeping of the centre (kitchen, bathroom cleaning etc.).
There are always tasks to be done on site and so if you want more work, make sure you ask! If you have a specific skill or interest let the team know as they may have jobs on their long term ‘to-do’ list for you.
This project is ideal for stays of 1-6 weeks. If you have 6 weeks or longer we would recommend combining this project with the Wildlife Rescue project which is based at the same centre.
Volunteers work a 5 or 6 day working week from about 6.30am-5pm on a rota basis, depending on the needs of the project at the time. Volunteers live on site, a short walk away from the animals. There are many exciting free time activities locally including 2 national parks to explore!
There are usually 15-30 volunteers on each role with a maximum of 70 in total, but this varies considerably throughout the year.
This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award.
Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Thailand Elephant Care Volunteering reviews.
Whilst each elephant is cared for by a dedicated mahout, the sanctuary are overstretched due to the scale of the work and the daily care tasks. The extra support from volunteers is crucial to ensure that every animal receives the optimum level of care. The extra help from volunteers also allows the local team to focus on other important tasks such as animal rights campaigning and education. Volunteers can also contribute creatively by helping to design enrichments for the elephants and other animals.
“The passion and commitment shown by volunteers allows the centre to run smoothly. Their love for animals allows us to continue to rescue and rehabilitate animals that have been forced into the tourist industry or kept as pets.”
Becca, Volunteer Coordinator
Whilst each elephant is cared for by a dedicated mahout, they are in need of assistance with their tasks. The local staff are often over-stretched with daily care tasks and so the extra man-power from volunteers allow them to focus on long term plans. Additionally volunteers can offer contribute creatively and help to design enrichments for the elephants.
“The passion and commitment shown by volunteers allows the centre to run smoothly. Their love for animals allows us to continue to rescue and rehabilitate animals that have been forced into the tourist industry or kept as pets.”Becca, Volunteer Coordinator
The sanctuary we work with gives refuge to domesticated elephants that have been used in industry and many of the elephants arrive with severe health problems and bear the scars of previous abuse. The sanctuary’s aim is to provide a refuge that is as close to nature as possible.
Domesticated elephants were traditionally used in the logging industry but after the ban on logging, many mahouts turned to making a living from using their elephants in the tourist industry. Many elephants were used for begging on the streets of big cities, within circuses, made to give rides or to perform. The sanctuary campaigns to raise awareness of the abuse elephants (and many other animals) face in the tourist industry.
Thailand is often referred to as the ‘land of smiles’, is a huge attraction for travellers from around the world due to its glorious beaches, tropical climate, great food and fascinating culture. The country is so diverse: from the tranquil mountains in the North and the idyllic beaches in the South as well as the bustling modern city of Bangkok, Thailand has something to offer everyone.
To find out more, see the Lonely Planet Thailand
The centre is located in a tropical region about 160 km south of Bangkok on temple grounds just outside a small village. It is a fairly remote location and provides a peaceful and beautiful environment, with a large lake opposite the centre. There are two bigger towns, Cha Am (30 minutes by taxi) and Hua Hin (45 minutes by taxi). Both these towns are on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand and are popular beach resorts.
The centre is located in a beautiful area which can be easily explored on foot. In the local village there is a small spa which is very popular with volunteers on their day off. There are also three national parks not far away which you are able to visit; Kui Buri National Park, Kaeng Krachan National Park and Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park. These activities are best booked locally once you are at the project.
There is an open area for volunteers to sit and relax in the evening. Alcohol is allowed in moderation, and the team hold ‘bar nights’ so that new volunteers can socialise and get to know the team in a safe and relaxed environment.
In the evenings volunteers sometimes choose to go to Hua Hin where there are bars, restaurants and a night market. There is also a weekly night market in Cha Am selling lots of cheap clothes and souvenirs.
The sanctuary is based on temple grounds donated by a local abbot in a tropical region south of Bangkok. It is a peaceful and rural location and the sanctuary is located beside a small lake which has a series of small ‘gibbon islands’ used to rehabilitate the gibbons.
Volunteers live in simple shared rooms on site at the sanctuary, bathrooms are shared with cold water showers and western bucket-flush toilets. The sanctuary has a communal area where volunteers can relax in the evenings as well as a communal kitchen where you can make snacks and drinks.
Female volunteers can request to stay in the seperate female only accomodation which, due to location, is more peaceful and the building overlooks four of the elephant enclosures.
Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa (if required), cost of pickup and transfers. Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.
|Elephant Care - 1 week||£599||GB Pounds|
|Extra weeks||£200||GB Pounds|
|2 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue||£849||GB Pounds|
|3 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue||£1009||GB Pounds|
|4 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue||£1169||GB Pounds|
|5 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue||£1329||GB Pounds|
|6 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue||£1489||GB Pounds|
|7 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue||£1649||GB Pounds|
|8 week combination of Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue||£1809||GB Pounds|
|Extra weeks on a combination placement||£110||GB Pounds|
Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com
Discounts for volunteers combining Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue roles, see above for examples
animals rescued by the Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue centre this year
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“Working with the elephants was an incredible experience… I worked as hard as I ever have, I was tired, wet, muddy, smelly, but never as alive and satisfied as I was when I was there.”Read more volunteer reviews
“This is without doubt the most rewarding thing I have ever done. I went by myself and had no idea what to expect... I am so glad I did. The harvests can be brutal, but I just told myself 'boot camp' and kept going!”Read more volunteer reviews
“My time in Thailand was the best time of my life! I highly recommend this placement for animal lovers, anyone who enjoys new experiences or who just wants to be immersed in a completely different way of life.”Read more volunteer reviews