Source: Elephants World
Elephant’s World is a non-profit organisation established in 2008 by Dr Samart Prasithpoi, as a sanctuary for sick, old, disabled, abused and street elephants. It is located 32 kilometres north of Kanchanaburi, Thailand.
This elephant sanctuary has been able to support itself on various donations and volunteers; recently, it has also tapped into the tourist market to earn additional funds.
Unlike the majority of other elephant camps in Thailand which focus purely on tourism, such as; elephant painting, riding and shows, Elephant’s World doesn’t.
Other well reputed elephant sanctuaries for volunteering in Thailand include Elephant’s World and Wildlife Friends Foundation in Thailand.
Elephants World is a great place to volunteer. There are 7 elephants, mahouts (basically the elephants cowboys), volunteers from around the world and a great team of staff members.
In hindsight two weeks would have been better than three days as I was just starting to become familiar with the different personalities of the elephants and then it was time to leave. But three days was all I could spare on my visa, and I am so glad I did.
Each day varies depending on what day it is. There are routines for the animals but, despite the routines, which are needed to keep the elephants happy no day is the same and all the elephants are amazing to work with. You are shown what to do with the elephants by the other volunteers who have been there longer than you, so each day was different and it depended on who you were working with.
A typical day started with a 7am start with feeding and showering your assigned elephant. We would then break for breakfast around 8am, and resume work again at 9am to feed and shower, chop up pumpkins or fruit for their showers and make banana balls and also enrichment for later in the day.
Then by 10 you are back with your elephant(s) to collect compost, poop and feed again (the elephants eat pretty much constantly!) Depending on which elephant(s)
We would feed 4 times a day and shower the elephants once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
We would stop for lunch at 12pm for 1 hour and then work until around 5pm. We would then have a buffet dinner at 6.30pm. Every other day we would go on the banana tree and pineapple top harvest to collect the elephant’s food. This would be a much busier day.
Once you get back you continue with looking after the elephants. This can consist of going on a walk with the elephants which is amazing, or giving them a shower which is so much fun and good to get soaked when it is boiling hot!
Once you have all finished around 5 you are free to do what you want and have dinner, ready for the next brilliant day!
It is quite tiring as it is very humid and you are constantly surrounded by flies and other insects but I was filled with a happy feeling of what I did on my day.
So, if you are an animal or nature lover, and are up for a challenging experience, choose Elephants World!
FYI: Remember it is a working placement so your main priority is for the care of the animals, there is time off to enjoy yourself, but the animals have to come first.