Elephant Conservation

Cambodia

Assist at a sanctuary which provides a home for rescued Asian elephants. Spend time observing these elephants in their natural surroundings. Help the project with a variety of community-based initiatives and explore the waterfalls, tropical forests and learn about the local community during your free time.

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Key Info

key info
  • Location: Eastern Cambodia, 6 hours from Phnom Penh
  • Start dates: Every Saturday
  • Duration: 1 – 12 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+
  • Availability: Spaces available, limited until September
  • Cost: From £725 / €870 / $980 - see fees table below

Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

Volunteers work alongside local and international staff to assist in the rewilding of 9 rescued Asian elephants and helping with a variety of local community initiatives.

Each day differs but generally volunteers will spend half of each day with the elephants, observing them or helping to carry out their health checks. The other half of each day is spent volunteering on a variety of tasks that are required by the sanctuary which will vary depending on the needs of the project and the local community at the time but may include:

  • Harvesting banana and pineapple trees for the elephants
  • Construction jobs such as fixing or making handrails or steps for the journey down to the elephants
  • Farming
  • Road maintenance
  • Assisting with community development initiatives

Working days and hours

Volunteers work 5 days per week (Monday to Friday), 8am to 5pm and have the weekends off.

Other volunteers

There are generally 5 to 15 volunteers at the project at any one time with a maximum of 30.

Volunteer reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Cambodia Elephant Conservation reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

Each elephant has their own mahout but volunteers provide an extra pair of eyes; whilst observing the elephants wandering freely in the forest you will learn how to complete full health checks which will allow you to identify and report any concerns regarding the elephants. These daily observations allows the project team to monitor the elephants’ health and wellbeing.

Volunteers also carry out a number of tasks to benefit the elephants in terms of additional food harvest for those who require it and contribute to the upkeep of the camp. A number of jobs that volunteers are part of are to benefit the local community such as farming and construction. These would not be possible without the hard work of dedicated volunteers.

“The elephants of Cambodia need help, there is little education on the care of captive elephants and few possibilities of veterinary assistance when required. When you come and volunteer, that allows us to do what we do best: to care for sick and abused elephants. Volunteers fees help us to provide vital jobs for the local population and care for their elephants and protects their local forest.”Jack, Founder and Manager

How is the Elephant Conservation project making a difference?

The sanctuary we work with provides a home to 9 Asian elephants that have been rescued from a variety of working backgrounds. They are now retired from work and live in the forest being rehabilitated in order to experience a more natural life. Here they are provided with a great natural environment to roam and each elephant has regular health checks and veterinary treatment when required.

The sanctuary works closely with the local community and the previous owners of the elephants (mahouts) as they recognise that without joint support, future positive change will not be possible. Therefore the project also provides employment opportunities for the mahouts to look after the elephants in their new home, but without having to work the elephants to earn an income. The project works closely with the larger local Bunong community assisting them with health care, education, land protection and community development initiatives.

Through the education of the local community and visitors to the area, they discourage the further domestication of wild elephants and instead demonstrate the value of elephants living more freely in the forest.

Where will I be living?

The project is based in the east of Cambodia in the Moldulkiri province near the Vietnam border. Whilst at the project you will be located on site in the forest camp.

There are two options for accommodation during the week; dorm rooms and bungalows which are both located on site.

The dorm rooms are simple shared rooms shared rooms, bathrooms are shared with cold water showers and western bucket-flush toilets.

There are four bungalows which are basic but with comfortable furnishings including a double bed, tables and a chair, and ensuite including cold water shower and western toilet. Please note that these are subject to availability and there is a weekly supplement for this option (see fees section for more details).

The camp has a dining area where volunteers eat meals and a communal area where volunteers can relax in the evenings. WIFI is not available at the forest camp.

During the weekends volunteers live in a guest house in the local town. These are twin rooms (shared on a single sex basis) with an ensuite bathroom. WIFI is available at the town guest house.

During your free time you can spend time in the local town or explore the local area. Although the local town is quiet, there are a number of activities that you can get involved in during the weekends such as visiting the local waterfall, zip lining, bird watching, exploring the local forests and learning about the local culture.

What's Included?

Before you go:

  • Carefully selected and vetted volunteer project
  • Support from our friendly and highly experienced Pod UK team
  • Single point of contact - Lucy is your dedicated placement manager
  • In-depth Volunteering Guide on your volunteering placement
  • Travel information - visa, health and safety advice
  • Access to specialist travel insurance at exclusive rates
  • Recommended travel agency for flights and tours
  • Access to special deals and resources
  • Fundraising guide and support
  • Financial protection for monies paid to Pod

On your placement:

  • Animal volunteering placement
  • Airport pick up (Phnom Penh) and return transfers
  • 1 night at a hotel in Phnom Penh
  • Transfer to project by car
  • Accommodation - a shared or private room
  • Food - all main meals during the week
  • Induction and training
  • Onsite support from local team
  • Support from Pod UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Incident Management and Emergency Response Plans

On your return:

  • Contact from your placement manager
  • Feedback scheme
  • Volunteering certificate (on request)
  • References (on request)
  • Member of the Pod community

Not included: Flights, travel insurance, visa (if required), food at weekends. Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply.

Pod Volunteer is run as a non-profit organisation. Fee levels are set to match costs and any surplus monies are distributed to the projects we work with via the Pod Charity.
Price table
1 week £725 GB Pounds
Extra weeks £345 GB Pounds
+ Supplement per week for bungalow accommodation £60 GB Pounds
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Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com

50%

of local families benefit from employment at the project

"Pod is a no nonsense volunteer organisation looking to change lives"Cian

Lucy

Pod UK Manager

Apply and you'll hear from Lucy soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.

Apply

VOLUNTEER REVIEWS

  • Cambodia Elephant Conservation volunteer – Georgie

    “It was an incredible experience. Getting up so close to the elephants was breathtaking and all who work there are amazing. All are so passionate about elephants and the project and work with the local people.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Cambodia Elephant Conservation volunteer – Houlu

    “I spent a week there and it was one of the best things I did in 3 months in Asia. The staff were amazing, caring and attentive, going out of their way to make sure you learned as much as possible, while having a great time.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Cambodia Elephant Conservation volunteer – Kimberly

    “One of the best experiences of my life. It taught me so many things about elephants and Cambodia that I did not know before. The way the elephants are treated was incredible and a beautiful experience to be a part of.”

    Read more volunteer reviews

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AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Wall Street Journal
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Year Out Group
  • Sunday Times
  • the independent
  • theguardian
  • DOFE
  • Right Tourism
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Tourism Concern

POD VOLUNTEER

RESPONSIBLE VOLUNTEERING
Sustainable needs-based volunteering projects that have lasting and positive impact on the local community. Volunteers of all ages are needed to make a difference overseas.

Pod IS A NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION WITH ASSOCIATED CHARITY
Structured to minimise costs for volunteers and maximise benefits for the projects we support.

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