Elephant Welfare and Community Development in Thailand

Based in Thailand’s Eastern province of Surin, this project works with the communities that have lived and worked with elephants for hundreds of years. Since the country’s ban on logging and prevalence of machinery, work for elephants is limited and with no other opportunities, the people of these communities and their elephants often starve.

The government has developed initiatives that aim to encourage communities to use elephants to help attract tourists to the area. This project works alongside these communities to encourage tourism development to be shaped by ethical and responsible eco-tourism approaches. Currently under-represented by Western tourists, the region’s tourism development focuses on entertainment shows, which see the elephants learn tricks and stay tied up for a lot of the day.

Through volunteer participation on this project, we work with a selected group of committed mahouts, their families and their elephants to develop eco-tourism approaches that provide the elephants a better standard of life.

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What to Expect?

Volunteers bring an international perspective to the work of conservation and ecotourism, passing along their knowledge and enthusiasm to local residents who will benefit the most from this work. Within the elephant village help is needed with looking after the elephants (walking, bathing, feeding), maintaining and harvesting crops to feed the elephants (sugar cane and bamboo) and general maintenance in the village (building elephant shelters, repairs, etc).

  • Program ID: # 1871
  • duration:
    1 to 2 Weeks
    2 Weeks to 1 Month
  • location:
    15° 18' 19.368" N, 103° 22' 52.8528" E
  • Fitness level:
    Light Impact
    Moderately Fit
  • Closest Airport:
    Bangkok (BKK)
  • Costs From:
    $1500 to $3000
    Over $3000
  • Program Type:
    Community Development Projects
    Environmental & Wildlife Programs
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