Under 18 Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue


Live onsite at a tropical wildlife centre based on temple grounds working with rescued elephants, monkeys, bears and a variety of other animals. Explore Thailand’s night markets, bat caves and visit a National Park as part of the trip. Join like-minded 16-17 year olds from around the world on this supported trip, accompanied by a Pod Team Leader.


Key Info

key info
  • Location: 3 hours south of Bangkok
  • Start dates: 29 July 2017 or 21 July 2018
  • Duration: 2 weeks
  • Age requirement: 16-17 years old at the time of travel
  • Availability: 2017: Fully booked, 2018: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £1295 / €1555 / $1750 - see fees table below

Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

You will be part of the Pod Under-18 Team spending two weeks volunteering at the Elephant Care and Wildlife Rescue project. There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ day but everyday jobs may include:

  • Feeding the animals
  • Providing water for the animals
  • Assisting with cleaning the enclosures
  • Harvesting of pineapples or bananas for the elephants

Other possible tasks could include:

  • Construction or maintenance of cages and enclosures
  • Working on enclosure and food enrichments
  • Maintenance of the gibbon islands
  • Keeping the centre’s grounds clean
  • Washing and caring for the rescued dogs on site

Working days and hours

The team will spend one week on the Elephant Care volunteer role and one week on the Wildlife Rescue role. Volunteers work roughly six-days per week from about 6.30am-5.00pm.

Other volunteers

There will be 8-16 volunteers in the Under-18 Team accompanied by a dedicated Pod Team Leader. You will also be working alongside other volunteers at the centre (aged 18+) and in total there will be 40-50 volunteers on site at the centre working to care for the animals.

Free time activities

As part of the two week trip the team will also enjoy:

  • A visit to Kui Buri National Park to hopefully spot elephants in the wild!
  • A trip to see an bat cave and local night markets
  • Visit to a local Buddhist temple
  • A rest and relaxation morning at a local spa

Volunteer Reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Thailand Under 18 Volunteering reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

Whilst the centre employs full time local staff they are always in need of assistance with their tasks. 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 and expand their care to more 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

How is the Elephant Care & Wildlife Rescue project making a difference?

The centre that we work with in Thailand operates as a sanctuary to abused, neglected or injured animals. They currently provide a home for around 200 primates, 25 bears, 10 Asian elephants and a variety of other small mammals, birds and reptiles. Many of the animals arrive with severe health problems and bear the scars of previous abuse. The centres aim is to provide a refuge for the elephants that is as close to nature as possible, whilst rehabilitating and releasing as much of the wildlife animals 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 centre campaigns to raise awareness of the abuse elephants (and many other animals) face in the tourist industry.

Educational tours are often organised for young school children from the local community, the project believe that the education of the next generation is critical to conservation in Thailand. In addition to this they actively campaign for better animal treatment in Thailand including issues such as the illegal pet trade, poaching and the use of animals within the tourist industry – particularly elephants, bears and primates.

Where will I be living?

The centre 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 centre is located beside a small lake which has a series of small ‘gibbon islands’ used to rehabilitate the gibbons. In total there are around 400 animals living on site at the centre.

Volunteers live in basic shared rooms on site at the centre, bathrooms are shared with cold water showers and western bucket-flush toilets. The centre has a communal area where volunteers can relax in the evenings as well as a communal kitchen where you can make snacks and drinks. After work you can relax at the centre and socialise with other volunteers. The local village has an internet café.

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 - Sarah is your dedicated placement manager
  • In-depth Volunteering Guide on your volunteering placement
  • Travel information - 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 care volunteering placement
  • A dedicated group leader - who will travel out (from the UK) with the group and support you throughout the placement
  • Airport pick up (Bangkok) and return transfers
  • Accommodation - a basic shared room
  • Food - all main meals
  • Induction and tour of the centre
  • Day trip to Cha Am - bat cave, night market
  • Visit to local National Park
  • Pod polo shirt
  • 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 and travel insurance. Budgeting guidance is provided in our Volunteering Guide which we will email you when you apply. We also provide advice and guidance on flights and travel insurance.

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
2 weeks £1295 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


years rescuing, caring and campaigning for animals in need

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


Pod UK Specialist

Apply and you'll hear from Sarah soon!

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



  • Thailand Under 18 Elephant Care and Wildlife volunteer - Georgia

    "In the future I know that I want to work with animals, this trip helped to confirm this. It was very hard work which was intensified by the heat and humidity; be prepared to get hot, sweaty and dirty but have a lot of fun doing it!"

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Thailand Under 18 Elephant Care and Wildlife volunteer - Kaitie

    “I was just one kid, but I went half way across the world to do something I was that passionate about; and in return found tons of other people coming together to do something amazing.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Thailand Under 18 Elephant Care and Wildlife volunteer - Steph

    "I can honestly that the Thailand Under 18’s Wildlife Rescue trip was the experience of a lifetime, providing me with incredible memories that I will never forget. I got more out of the trip than I ever expected."

    Read more volunteer reviews


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