Global Vision International (GVI)

Conservation Internship with Elephants

    Thailand: Chiang Mai

    Year Round

    Daily contact with elephants, directly responsible for monitoring an elephant calf’s health and providing basic daily care. Work closely to assist an elephant specialist vet run the project, and benefit from his years of experience working with elephants, eco tourism management, and conducting wild reintroduction studies. This internship also provides a unique look into Karen culture, living and working within an indigenous community. Learn Thai and Karen languages, traditional forest medicine, and ancient elephant keeping techniques. This internship offers experience working with a remote community, eco tourism management, teaching, and animal husbandry.

    Provide Infant Elephant Care while Assisting a Thai Veterinarian to Build a New Elephant Sanctuary With a Karen Community in Northern Thailand

    Provide daily care for a new mother and her calf, and run long term health studies on elephants in the program. For 3, 6, 9, or 12 month placements interns assist managing a new elephant sanctuary and help develop innovative new eco-tourism projects. Living and working in a traditional Karen village in the mountains of northern Thailand, interns on this project get a unique opportunity to learn about living with elephants in the forest from a community that’s been keeping elephants for hundreds of years. Depending on your interests, you can assist elephant behavior studies, document medicinal plants, teach English in the village school, and/or help find new livelihoods for the villagers so they don’t have to return to working in the circus with their elephants.

    The practices of elephant street begging and circus performing significantly reduce the life expectancy of this endangered species, diminishes their high cultural importance, and place individuals in inhumane living conditions. We are creating a new future for the species, and bringing new hope to elephants with tragic pasts. This project promotes more ethical and sustainable elephant management. Interns provide basic care and see that the elephants' social needs are met. We are helping local communities to establish a new sanctuary for these rescued elephants, where they can live out their days as naturally as possible. A wild release program is underway. Interns are supporting a Thai elephant specialist’s veterinary research and reintroduction program. You will see the profound difference this program is making on the lives of each elephant and the people involved.

    Animal Sciences, Conservation Biology, Environmental Management, Environmental Studies, Zoology and Wildlife Sciences

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