If you’re traveling to Thailand to volunteer at an elephant sanctuary, you’ll want to ensure you’re selecting a sanctuary with ethical practices. Believe it or not, there are sanctuaries out there that don’t have the best interests of the animals themselves as a top priority and, simply put, these are the places you’ll want to avoid. Knowing how to select a sanctuary is a different story though. What should you watch out for? Use the following advice to lead you in the right direction.
The top priority here is ethics, therefore, you need to know what level of ethics different sanctuaries provide. Note that the best high-quality sanctuaries will use the money they raise through tourism and the government to provide world-class veterinary care to the elephants. Furthermore, exceptional housing and infrastructure for the animals should be a staple of a sanctuary. Lastly, as a volunteer, the sanctuary should stress providing you with education, not just about how to properly care for the animals, but how and why it’s important to protect them.
Working with the Locals
A good indication of the moral fiber a sanctuary holds is how they work with the local population in conjunction with their project. So, it’s important for you to know that the most reputable ethical elephant sanctuary in Thailand will have a joint relationship with the local population to provide the best care possible for the elephant population.
Services and Activities
So much of your experience at an elephant sanctuary is to learn about elephants and how you, as an individual, can better protect them. That being said, your experience should also entail interaction and activities with the elephants. Therefore, while researching sanctuaries, carefully check what services and activities are offered. First, you’ll want to be sure you can communicate well during your sanctuary experience. The best sanctuaries will offer instruction and education in English. Second, education about the elephants should be a pivotal part of your time. A sanctuary should provide you with a background on each elephant and information about their behavior.
Then, activities such as bath time and feeding time should be activities you can participate in to interact with the elephants. If you decide you have time to visit the sanctuary a little longer, you can participate in activities like a jungle trek with the elephants. Of course, time for pictures and videos are also a priority for both you and premium sanctuaries. Top sanctuaries will even offer you picture services at no extra charge so you can get candid, natural shots with the elephants. The very best sanctuaries will even give you locally made, traditional clothing to wear during your experience!
Making the choice to visit an elephant sanctuary is an easy one, but selecting a sanctuary that prides itself on its ethical practices is a different story. By following this advice to make your selection, you’ll have nothing to worry about when it comes to your elephant sanctuary experience. Good luck!