VOLUNTEER WITH ELEPHANTS

Plan My Gap Year offers the most affordable and trusted programs to volunteer with elephants in Sri Lanka & Thailand. It’s a great opportunity to get real hands-on experience with the planets most majestic and wild animals. Both projects offer a unique chance to contribute towards essential elephant conservation efforts.

PMGY programs start on two dedicated start dates every month throughout the year and participants can join us from 1-12 weeks. Volunteers are provided with an extensive pre-departure support service, airport pickup, orientation, meals, accommodation, project transportation and local support throughout.

The majority of participants are first-time solo travellers, therefore safety and support is our top priority to ensure you have a positive volunteering experience.

SRI LANKA ELEPHANT VOLUNTEERS

If you love elephants you will love this! Elephants in their natural habitat combined with meaningful research represent a perfect match!

FROM 705 USD

1-12 WEEKS

MORE INFO

THAILAND ELEPHANT VOLUNTEERS

Work closely with rescued Asian elephants in this inspiring elephant sanctuary in Thailand. If you love elephants, this experience is not to be missed!

FROM 540 USD

1-12 WEEKS

MORE INFO

WHY PMGY?

WHY VOLUNTEER WITH ELEPHANTS WITH PMGY?

 

Most Affordable – PMGY’s volunteer with elephants programs are accessible to everyone who wants to make a difference, through low fees and high-impact projects.

 

Best Support – Our international and local teams provide extensive around the clock services to assist you every step of your volunteering elephants journey.

 

Safety Prioritised – With safety a PMGY number-1 priority, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure your volunteer elephant sanctuary experience is as safe and structured as possible.

 

Extraordinary Experiences – When volunteering with elephants, you have the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in amazing cultural and travel experiences, ensuring you leave with unforgettable memories.

 

Friendships for Life – Your elephant sanctuary volunteer experience not only opens up a doorway for new experiences and exciting memories, but also life-long friendships when meeting new people from around the world.

SRI LANKA PROGRAM OVERVIEW

SRI LANKA ELEPHANT PROJECT

 

Join us as an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka to play a key role in education, research and conservation of Asian elephants. Based in the central province, the Wasgamuwa region and National Park is famous for hosting a large number of wild elephant herds. Volunteers will engage in a wide range of research and conservation to see how these elephants live and move in their natural habitat. Help provide solutions and education to the conflicts that exist between the elephant population and multiple villages located within the area.

 

Background to the Elephant Program

 

Over the past 50 years, the elephant population in Sri Lanka has reduced substantially. Firstly, not only are there persisting issues of keeping captive elephants, elephant riding and labour, but nearly 5,000 elephant deaths in this period are believed to be a direct result of the conflict that exists between humans and elephants. In the present day, human-elephant conflict is said to be responsible for around 250 elephant deaths and 80 human deaths annually in Sri Lanka.

 

So what is human-elephant conflict? The simplest explanation would be the elephant and human populations not getting along. One of the main reasons is the competition for land. On one side of the coin, it is humans encroaching onto the territory of elephants and habitats shrinking daily. On the other hand, rising populations and urbanisation challenges see elephants having nowhere else to go and end up in fields searching for food. This is much to the dismay of many poor farmers who haven’t changed their daily lives and routines for generations. However, they see their crops, villages and ultimately livelihoods being destroyed.

 

To expand on this, the destruction of forests through logging, encroachment and shifting cultivation are some examples of major threats to the survival of elephants. Conflicts occur when elephants raid crops of subsistence farmers, which are scattered over a large area fragmenting elephant habitat. Devastation and destruction in human settlements is another major area of human-elephant conflict occurring in small forest pockets, encroachments into elephant habitat, and on elephant migration routes. Subsequently, thousands of homes are destroyed by elephants and millions of dollars worth of crop damage arise, wrecking livelihoods and incomes of rural farming communities.

 

Elephant Volunteer Placement

 

Wasgamuwa is the core base of your work as an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka, representing an area where human-elephant conflict is the highest prevalent issue and concern. Wasgamuwa National Park is adjacent to the villages and forest reserves where most of the volunteer work is conducted. Moreover, this is the only national park in the whole of the central province where you will encounter these gentle giants in their natural habitats. Established originally by a team of biologists in 1995, the wildlife volunteer program aimed to distinguish root causes to the conflict, as well as work with the local people to educate and establish mitigation systems. It was vital that these measures protect the villagers’ livelihoods, as well as help minimize elephant casualties. Meanwhile, allowing wild elephants to live in their natural habitat.

 

As an elephant sanctuary Sri Lanka volunteer, you will be working directly with 12 of the villages based in the Wasgamuwa area where human-elephant conflict is an ongoing issue. Your role on this wildlife volunteering abroad program will be aiding the research and conservation techniques to halt the decline of this wonderful endangered species. This includes monitoring elephant behaviour and movements. As a volunteer with elephants, your role is in tandem with helping the communities and villages learn to live side by side with these amazing creatures.

 

Working alongside local biologists, research assistants and conservationists to help conduct research, you will get involved in a number of activities as an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka. You’ll be focusing in the fields of conservation and research on this wildlife volunteer program, all with the ultimate aim of reducing human-elephant conflict and promoting sustainable land-use practices.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Work Day

 

Based in the wild Wasgamuwa region, each elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka will be working in one of the most spectacular and tranquil places across the globe. Your volunteering elephants day will be split into morning and afternoon activities, often working in subgroups depending on how many are volunteering at elephant sanctuary. Usually, you’ll be up early to start after breakfast around 8:30am, breaking for lunch and finishing around 6pm from Monday-Friday. You will get around the project by jeep from the accommodation into the heart of the reserve and jungle. Journey times will usually be up to 45 minutes. The elephant volunteering schedule is designed around the activity patterns of elephants.

 

Consequently, this ensures conservation techniques and research can be maximised and your role is varied and meaningful. The timings of each activity are set in a routine to minimise the impacts on the daily cycle of an elephant. There are two main goals of the project; reducing the human-elephant conflict to protect elephants and help the local community as well as protecting elephants through applied conservation methods. Here are a variety of tasks that you will get involved with to achieve these goals:

 

Reducing Human-Elephant Conflict – Throughout your time as an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka, you will work closely with the local villages to help them live compatibly with elephants. The main goal is to naturally decrease the conflict and repercussions that follow between humans and elephants. Your role in this includes:

 

Observing Interactions – Most importantly, between wild elephants and also human-elephant interactions.

 

Conducting Human-Elephant Conflict Surveys – An elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka will visit village homes that had been raided by elephants to collect information about the conflict.

 

Monitoring Electric Fences – These fences were erected to stop elephants from raiding village homes. Walking the length of solar-powered electric fences erected to protect villages and their fields, identifying the need for maintenance and repair along the way.

 

Meeting with Community Leaders – Monitoring human-elephant conflict resolution projects and to understand the cultural perceptions and attitudes of local people.

 

Riding the Elefriendly Community Bus – You can travel on the bus early in the morning when school children are transported to school and home through the elephant corridor. The bus was established in 2016 and educates the children on living alongside the elephants. The maintenance of the bus and its operation is fully funded directly through the volunteer elephant sanctuary. Before the bus, many children would not go to school or turn back home should they encounter an elephant while walking to school.

 

Promoting Project Orange Campaigns – Research by the team has found elephants dislike citrus. When elephant volunteering, your role is working alongside the team to educate and promote citrus-based crops as natural deterrents and to provide farmers with an alternative income in the village communities of Wasgamuwa. Consequently, this will protect and conserve their crops, property and livelihoods. At the same time, it provides them with a sustainable additional income. Help farmers to take care of their orange groves, check for diseases and pests, dig holes to plant new orange plants. During the fruiting season, help count fruits, harvest and sort them for sale. The Sri Lanka elephant volunteer program will provide transport costs for the farmers to take them to the markets for sale with the long-term aim to get into supply with Sri Lanka’s largest supermarket supply chain.

 

Protecting Elephants Through Conservation Techniques – An elephant sanctuary Sri Lanka volunteer will monitor elephants closely in order to help develop strategies to conserve and protect the local wildlife. Here you will use an array of field methods, conduct observations and help to implement conservation measures:

 

Monitoring Tracks – Setting up sand traps across the jungle and elephant corridors to study tracks, building research, analysing findings and understanding the diversity that exists in the forest. This will require physical energy as you will dig up and rake fresh new 2 x 2-metre sand traps each week to check for new footprints. Expect to find more wildlife prints than just elephants as you look for signs of leopard, sloth bears, wild buffalos and of course elephant activity.

 

Setting up Camera Traps – As an elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka, you may be responsible for setting these up in hotspot locations across the forest. You’ll be replacing these each week with new SD cards. After a busy morning in the depths of the Sri Lankan forest, it’s time to return to the office to download data from the SD cards you collected and check the computer for what the camera traps have picked up in the last week. Be ready to make conclusions on the findings as you learn what different wildlife exists in the forests, what times of day elephants and other wildlife pass through the corridor and more.

 

Gaining GPS Experience – You’ll be polishing off your navigation skills on the Sri Lanka elephant volunteer program. For instance, in the use of GPS across your time in the forest.

 

Observing Movements – During the afternoons you might be located high up in the jungle treetop in tree huts. These are along the elephant corridor, which is the traditional popular route elephants use to move between the forest reserve and national park. Here you will observe passing elephants, collate data on their movements, behaviours and other variables.

 

Gathering Data – For example, on elephant foraging transects, plants elephants eat and their impact on various habitats and plant species.

 

Inspecting Elephant Dung – Taking measurements to assess the size and sex of elephants. After that, analysing the dung to find out what the elephants have been eating, any foreign objects inside and their movement patterns. On the elephant volunteer programs, you can also learn about the elephant’s sex and age through the size of the dung!

 

Trekking Through Dense Jungles and Wetlands – As you walk along typical elephant trails to record findings, you’ll assess any seasonal variations in behaviours, habitat preferences and better understand elephants that live outside the national park.

 

Updating Records – You will get to spend a session at the Weheragala Tank looking for Sri Lankan elephants to observe and photograph for ID purposes. You will also have to fill in an elephant identification datasheet to build up a catalogue of elephant numbers, movement behaviours and any individually defining physical features.

 

Whatever the activity, elephant volunteering in Sri Lanka will incorporate you being based in the heart of their natural habitat as you trek through the jungles, wetlands and mountains of Wasgamuwa along the way. In your free time enjoy the incredible views offered by the volunteer accommodation, overlooking a large central reservoir surrounded by the Knuckles Mountain Range.

 

Each volunteer will receive an orientation session before heading into the field to better understand their role, impact and history of the Sri Lanka volunteer program. If you truly want to make a difference to wildlife conservation efforts by working closely with local communities, then volunteering in Sri Lanka with elephants is the project for you.

THAILAND PROGRAM OVERVIEW

THAILAND ELEPHANT PROJECT

 

As an elephant volunteer in Thailand with PMGY, you will have the unique chance to work behind the scenes to care for rescued elephants. Eager and passionate participants are required to assist with the general upkeep of the project throughout the year. The Thailand elephant sanctuary works to rescue and rehabilitate elephants within Thailand. With our team on this Thailand volunteer program, you will have an amazing chance to help care for these gentle giants.

 

Background to the Elephant Program

 

Thailand is home to both populations of wild and domesticated populations of the Asian elephant. The domestic population is sadly made up of animals that have been caught from their natural habitat or bred in captivity. These animals have been trained/broken to live and work in the tourist or logging industry.

 

Today, Thailand’s wild population elephant population is struggling for survival. The wild elephant population of Thailand is estimated at 2,200, living in open grasslands and dense rainforests spread over the country. Historically, domestic elephants have been used in the logging industry. In turn, they have ironically and unwillingly helped to destroy the very habitat they rely on to survive.

 

After the ban on logging in 1989, most of the logging elephants ended up being used within the tourism industry. Others have been used to make a living by begging on the streets of big cities. Walking day and night on these dirty and traffic-congested streets is detrimental to the elephant’s health, and is simply unnatural. Street begging elephants often end up being involved in road traffic accidents. This commonly results in fatalities for both the elephant and the mahout.

 

Unfortunately, in Thailand, there are currently no laws to prevent this abuse and mistreatment. Therefore there is an urgent need to help these animals. This is where our participants come in. This sanctuary has been created for elephants to retire and be given the respect these amazing creatures deserve. Our international participants help support the centre, assisting and leading different tasks to help rehabilitate and home these gentle giants.

 

Elephant Volunteer Placement

 

WFFT – If you wish to be a responsible volunteer, working ethically with elephants, then this is the place to volunteer. This wildlife volunteering project project allows you to learn more about them, the problems they face and be part of the solution. The forested land around the rescue centre gives rescued elephants the chance to roam around in near-natural surroundings. Large pieces of land have been purchased to make these forests and grasslands similar to their natural habitat. The large elephant enclosures allow the elephants the space to move around and socialise with other elephants. Each enclosure can be up to 5-hectares in size, with natural trees, lakes and grazing areas. No elephant is ever chained up, day or night.

 

The rescue centre provides elephants with the freedom they deserve in a safe and natural environment. Our team provides lifelong veterinary care to those who need it, as well as the best husbandry and diet. As a elephant volunteer in Thailand, you will be taught everything needed to take care of these captivating creatures. A volunteer with elephants in Thailand will prepare food, create enrichment items, clean and maintain enclosures, and harvest plant matter. Common meals for elephants include banana trees and grass. You may also be lucky enough to walk the elephants between pieces of land!

 

When volunteering in Thailand with elephants, our coordinators will assign participants to groups each day. The groups are managed by team leaders – longer-term experienced participants who assist and guide their teams throughout daily tasks.

 

Your Volunteer Role & Typical Working Day

 

Thailand elephant conservation participants are required to support and assist with the day-to-day operations at the volunteer project. This includes (but is not limited to): preparing and distributing food, preparing and distributing behavioural enrichments, assisting with environmental enrichments, cleaning the land, and general maintenance, including maintaining forest areas.

 

On this Thailand elephant volunteer program, the working day starts at 6:30am at the Volunteer House. The Volunteer House is where all organisation and orientation of participants is based. As a volunteer with elephants, you will normally finish work around 5pm. There will be several breaks throughout the day for breakfast, lunch and water and toilet breaks. Participants are expected to work 6 days a week with one day off. The Volunteer House is based on-site at the rescue centre. Although volunteer work at Thailand elephant sanctuaries is physically and mentally demanding, the end result is always well worth it. Volunteering in Thailand with elephants is tremendously rewarding.

 

As a volunteer with elephants in Thailand, you will stay on-site at the wildlife centre. This means that external transport is not required. Any required transport for the needs of the project will be included in your Program Fee.

SRI LANKA PROGRAM SCHEDULE

SRI LANKA ELEPHANT VOLUNTEERING ITINERARY

 

Please make sure you arrive into Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo on Saturday, after 9:30am.

 

Day 1 (Saturday) Arrival

 

Welcome to Sri Lanka! You will be met at Colombo airport by a member of our local team who will be holding a name sign.

 

We will transfer each elephant sanctuary Sri Lanka volunteer to a guesthouse in Negombo – a town 10 miles from the airport to relax and recover from the jet lag! Saturday is simply a day in transit as we await any more arrivals who may join. After that, there is an early morning departure on Sunday from which the experience properly commences!

 

Day 2 (Sunday) Travel to Wasgamuwa and Orientation

 

Your orientation will begin with the theoretical component on Monday. However, first, it’s time for an early morning wake up call as we hit the road for Wasgamuwa, where our elephant conservation project is based. Expect to leave briskly after an early morning breakfast as we make the 5 hour drive to arrive at the project location in time for lunch.

 

The rest of the day is your time to settle in and acclimatise to the accommodation and surroundings which includes taking in the magnificent views you will now be calling home for the remainder of your time in the project.

 

In the afternoon/evening time, expect to receive your orientation to the program. This will be held in the office which is located adjacent to the accommodation and is the headquarters for where much of the research and data entry takes place.

 

Your orientation will begin with the theoretical component. The local team will discuss the history and developments of the project, giving the chance for each elephant volunteer in Sri Lanka to learn and ask questions before heading into the field. This will include details on the aim of the program, such as working to resolve human-elephant conflict in the local community.

 

Our local team will outline what work you can expect to do as a volunteer in Sri Lanka. This will include information about health and safety and life in Sri Lanka. The orientation day provides a great opportunity to meet the local team and ask any questions you may have. Later in the week, the local team will take you into town to collect anything you may require.

 

Days 3-7 (Monday-Friday) Volunteering Begins

 

You will start volunteering with elephants on Monday morning. The volunteer schedule is usually laid out for the week in morning and afternoon activities. Tasks will be varied and conservation-focused. Therefore, your efforts will go a long way to achieving the ultimate project goals of saving elephants by helping people!

 

Days 6-7 (Saturday-Sunday) Weekend!

 

After a week of working as an elephant sanctuary volunteer, it is your time to explore the wonders of Sri Lanka. Whether you travel to the cultural capital of Kandy or head further afield to the beach in Trincolmee – Sri Lanka has it all. As a volunteer in Sri Lanka, our team both welcomes and encourages participants to explore the country’s wonderful treasures. They will be very happy to help you plan your weekend opportunities and outline any travel tips.

 

The Following Weeks

 

Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering with elephants from Monday-Friday. Weekends will be free to travel. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your phone, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.

 

Last Day (Saturday)

 

Saturday is your last day with PMGY as a volunteer in Sri Lanka. If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is not included in your Program Fee.

 

Depending on your onward flight departure time and how you choose to get back to the airport, you may consider departing the program on Friday to ensure you are back to the airport in good time for your onward flight.

THAILAND PROGRAM SCHEDULE

THAILAND ELEPHANT VOLUNTEERING ITINERARY

 

Please make sure you arrive at Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) or Don Mueang Airport (DMK) in Bangkok between 6am-2pm on Sunday.

 

Day 1 (Sunday) Arrival Welcome to Thailand!

 

Welcome to Thailand! You will be met at your arrival airport into Bangkok by one of our appointed taxi drivers who will be holding a name sign. The journey to the Wildlife Centre will take around 3 hours, depending on traffic.

 

Your orientation for the Thailand elephant sanctuary program will begin on Sunday, after your arrival at the centre. Upon arrival, volunteers in Thailand will be greeted by the coordinators and shown to their room. In the afternoon, elephant sanctuary volunteers will spend time being briefed on all theoretical aspects of the program. The team will brief you on health and safety, whilst providing you with an introduction to the work you can expect on the volunteer placement. You will then receive a tour of the volunteer elephant sanctuary. During this time, the coordinators will explain more to you about why the program exists and how you can help. The remainder of the day will be a chance for you to get to know your fellow participants and relax.

 

Days 2-8 (Monday-Sunday) Volunteering Begins

 

The elephant volunteering starts at 6:30am at the Volunteer House. The Volunteer House is where all organisation and orientation of participants is based. Volunteers will normally finish work around 5pm, with several breaks throughout the day for breakfast, lunch and water and toilet breaks. Participants are expected to work 6 days a week with one day off. The work can be quite physically demanding but the end result is always well worth it.

 

When volunteering in Thailand with elephants, our coordinators will assign volunteers to groups each day. The groups are managed by team leaders – longer-term experienced participants who assist and guide their teams throughout daily tasks.

 

During your time in Thailand, each participant will have their own pace, strengths and weaknesses. You are asked to kindly respect that not everyone will have the same abilities – individuals may work at different paces. Every volunteer at the Thailand elephant sanctuaries is there to help and make their contribution in their own way. Please speak to the coordinators if you feel you have been given too much or too little work for your personal abilities, as there are plenty of tasks to suit all. Coordinators will be around to answer any questions and both monitor and observe each group throughout the day.

 

All participants volunteering in Thailand with elephants will be asked to assist in additional tasks outside of project hours. This is to help run the Volunteer House and include activities such as ‘house duty’ and ‘doggie duty’. Typically, two people per day are chosen to help with each. House duty involves ensuring all areas are kept tidy each day and some common housework is completed. Doggie duty involves caring for some of the dogs that live at the Volunteer House. This involves washing, feeding and walking the dogs.

 

Day Off (Varies)

 

Whether you are looking for a relaxing day by the beach, some adventure activities, or a more cultural experience – Thailand has it all! The local team in Thailand will be very happy to help talk through options for you to get involved in during your free time. Please note that participants are required to commit at least 6 days to the project so your exact day off will vary and is dependent on the overall workload.

 

The Following Weeks

 

Your next week(s) will follow a similar pattern, as your volunteering elephants schedule runs 6 days a week. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it! Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your phone, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.

 

Last day (Saturday)

 

Sunday is your last day with PMGY. If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is not included in your Program Fee.

SRI LANKA PROJECT LOCATION

🇱🇰 Wasgamuwa

 

The volunteer accommodation of the Sri Lanka elephant project is located on a scenic hill, overlooking the Knuckles Mountain Range in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. The house is just 15 minutes from Wasgamuwa National Park, and around 5 hours away from Colombo. The Volunteer House is based in a very remote and rural area. This gives each volunteer in Sri Lanka the chance to truly immerse themselves in the beauty of the Sri Lankan countryside.

 

Wasgamuwa is one of Sri Lanka’s many magnificent National Parks, famous for its large number of elephant herds. The park is home to over 20-species of mammals. It is also identified as one of the Important Bird Areas in Sri Lanka. The closest town to this Sri Lanka volunteer program is Hettipola, approximately a 30 minute drive from the Volunteer House. The town is not accessible from the Volunteer House by foot. The town has the basic amenities a volunteer with elephants could require, such as a bank, hospital, shops and a bus station. Its public transport links are ideal for getting you to the prime locations in Sri Lanka across your free time.

 

Our programs in Wasgamuwa run from 1-12 weeks beginning on the first and third Saturday of each month.

THAILAND PROJECT LOCATION

🇹🇭 Thamairuak

 

Volunteers in Thailand on one of our animal conservation projects are located in Phetchaburi, within the Thamairuak district. This is a rural location approximately 3 hours south of Bangkok. These volunteer opportunities in Thailand are within a 10 minute walk from the local village. There, participants in Thailand can find roadside restaurants, 2-small supermarkets and an internet cafe. The nearby tourist locations of Hua Hin and Cha-am are approximately a 45 minutes drive from the volunteer elephant sanctuary.

 

Our programs in Thamairuak run from 1-12 weeks, beginning on every Sunday of each month.

FLIGHTS & TRAVEL INSURANCE

Flights

 

After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.

 

Travel Insurance

 

Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.

 

We have partnered up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.

PRE-DEPARTURE SUPPORT

Our International Team will work hard to provide extensive levels of support in the build-up to your trip. From our online chat service to email support and telephone conversations, our team are always ready to help. All international participants with PMGY will receive a Volunteer Handbook. This detailed hand guide will provide you with all you need to know in the build-up to your trip. From visa guidance to suggested packing lists, this will be the ultimate guide, helping you plan for your trip abroad.

 

We have Facebook groups for each of our destinations. Here you can find members of our international and local teams, as well as past, present and future participants. These pages, therefore, provide a great forum for participants to network, share experiences and community updates year-on-year.

 

Sometimes it can be difficult to picture yourself abroad without yet being there. We, therefore, do our best to further manage expectations before you arrive through a variety of informative and action-packed videos on our PMGY Vimeo channel. These clips help provide you with a visual perspective of what you can expect during your time volunteering with us. Our webinars are not to be missed either. Running on selected Tuesdays, at 4pm UK time, our International Team provides invaluable advice for your upcoming trip. Each webinar covers something different. Our pre-departure webinar covers all of the essentials you need to know and do before joining us abroad. Our program preparation webinar is more project-specific, with advice and information for the time you will spend on placement. Finally, our safety webinar offers you some top tips on how to manage your safety and wellbeing across the pond. For those who are simply interested in learning more about PMGY, our team also run an introductory webinar. This provides an introduction to the volunteer organisation, our background, goals and volunteer opportunities overseas.

 

Teaching and childcare participants may wish to take their program preparation even further, through a 60 hour online TEFL course. This is the perfect introductory course for working with children and teaching English abroad. Participation in this course enables international volunteers to acquire key skills whilst working towards an internationally accredited certificate.

PMGY LOCAL TEAMS

PMGY’s elephant volunteering opportunities are run by our dedicated and experienced in-country local teams.

 

All staff have been fully vetted by our International Team. The committed local community network provides the structure for your stay with us as a volunteer with elephants. Our local team will arrange your accommodation, airport pick-up, in-country orientation and 24/7 emergency support. Whether you are teaching English in schools or working to support wildlife, our local team will support you. Our team provides a great framework for you to enjoy volunteering with elephants.

SAFETY

If you have not travelled much before, it is really hard to know what to expect. When anticipating their time overseas, many international participants (and their loved ones) are often concerned about safety and security. Although we can never guarantee experiences to be 100% trouble-free, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe as possible. Every program that PMGY offers has been personally inspected and selected by a director of PMGY. We have lived in the accommodation, experienced the orientation and worked on the projects. Through our frequent visits and daily communications, we have built strong, trusting relationships with our local staff.

 

In the unlikely event that something was to happen, participants have various layers of support available to them:

 

• Local Team
• Project Staff
• PMGY International Team

 

Projects are monitored on an on-going basis to gauge participants’ experiences. With the help of feedback, we are able to continually improve our placements and opportunities. Security and safety are frequently assessed as part of this. We ask our participants to raise any concerns with our local or International Team. This ensures that these can be addressed and/or resolved as readily and appropriately as possible.

 

Through pre-departure and in-country guidance, we do our best to prepare our international participants for their elephant volunteering experience. All participants are provided with a comprehensive safety briefing during their orientation period. Our local teams will go through everything from project introductions, to emergency procedures, how to use local transport and cultural differences. During this period, our team also provide participants with a full list of the important contact numbers.

 

Listed below are some general safety tips:

 

• Be modest with the amount of jewellery worn in public
• Do not drink tap water
• Be cautious of beggars or crowds. Incidents can occur when is confusion to distract you.
• Be cautious about removing money in public
• Always try to know where you are going before you attempt long journeys. Be especially careful at night
• Use reputable transport only. Our local staff will be able to recommend some during orientation
• Try to keep in groups at night and never walk alone along dark, empty streets
• The recognised tourist areas can be considered potentially high-risk areas for pickpockets and thieves
• Leave your valuables behind before a night out in the town
• For traffic safety, always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly when crossing the road
• Do not accept drinks or food from strangers

TRANSPORT TO PROJECT

Wasgamuwa

 

Your local transport to and from the project each day is included in your Program Fee. The local team will collect you every day you volunteer with elephants from the Volunteer House. You will then be transferred via a private jeep for the day’s activities. The jeep will return to the accommodation at the end of the day.

 

Thamairuak

 

Transport to and from the volunteer elephant sanctuary is included in your Program Fee. However, on our wildlife and elephant conservation projects, participants stay on-site at the wildlife centre, therefore external transport is not usually required. Any required transport for volunteering with elephants will be included in your Program Fee.

VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS

PMGY welcome participants of all nationalities and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 18 years, although our wildlife and elephant conservation programs welcome participants as young as 14, in the presence of a parent. There is no upper age limit for volunteering with elephants. All participants need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. You do not need to speak the local language.

 

All volunteering elephants participants must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required as an elephant sanctuary volunteer, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation!

 

In order to confirm your place on a PMGY program, you need to pay your Registration Fee of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge.

 

Please check out our Application Process for more info on how to join our volunteer projects overseas.

World map showing PMGY volunteer with elephants projects in Africa, Asia & South America