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Surin is known has the region of elephants. The local keep domesticated elephants for them to carry loads and tourists through which the owners can earn good income. But as the elephants become old and sick, the owners either sell the elephants or abandon them as keeping the elephants is quite expensive as they eat a lot and treating them is quite expensive. The sick elephants are normally taken to the urban centers by the new owners. They will be made to stand on hot concrete as the owners then beg for up-keeping of the elephants. To prevent this from happening, the project is working with local elephant owners to feed and keep the old elephants healthy so they do not have to sell the elephants.
No specific skills or qualifications are required to volunteer in the project. You should however have passion to work for the elephants. Volunteers must also respect Thai custom and local people at all times.
Volunteers will work with elephant handlers, known locally as mahouts to care for the elephants. Care involve making food, feeding them, cleaning their enclosure, taking the elephants away on a walk and cleaning them. There are other community work the volunteers will do also. In the even, volunteers will help prepare dinner and can teach local community or enjoy the free time on your own.
As part of the project, volunteers will spend three nights each week in the village. During this stay, meals will be served to the volunteers. This is a wonderful opportunity for the volunteers to not only be close to elephants but also to learn Thai culture and make local friends.
Surin is known has the elephant province in Thailand. This is because of the large number of elephants that are domesticated and the elephant festival that takes place very year that draws large number of crowds. Surin is one of the poorest region in Thailand and overwhelmingly agrarian. There are many interesting things to see around Surin including visiting Cambodia as it’s a border town. Surin also has a sizeable expatriate community.