Surrounded by breathtaking mountainous scenery in northern Thailand, volunteers will quickly ease into a very peaceful way of life that still exists here. Project work itself takes place in Mae Chaem District, a 5-hour journey into the mountains, where the famous Karen elephant-keeping communities reside and who have shared a unique and sacred relationship with elephants for hundreds of years.
Overview of the tasks and time commitment needed from the participant.
During the week, you will hike through the forest with the elephants, and on these hikes you’ll observe the elephants’ foraging and social behaviors, as well as collect data on the surrounding biodiversity. You will also have the opportunity to conduct basic health checks on the elephants, and this is when you’ll get to get up close and personal with them, looking them over for any bumps, scratches, etc. The hikes will vary in length so be prepared for long days, and they can at times be strenuous because of the hilly terrain, so a good level of fitness is required as well, but they are a great way to observe the elephants in their natural habitats! You might also get the chance to explore the surrounding caves or go on optional night hikes, so come prepared to be adventurous!
Orientation and Training (supervision and preparation the participant will receive).
Staff in the field will provide training on the skills required, but you may benefit from learning more about local history, culture and customs before you travel.