The Elephant Care Project
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Trunk is very proud to be a huge advocate of supporting captive elephants in Asia. Having an 11 year history of working alongside communities and Mahout’s that have dedicated their lives to supporting the welfare of these incredible giants, the team at Trunk know a thing or two about what it takes to ensure that elephants no longer living wild have an enriched lifestyle that offers safety, healthcare, love and that all elephants are treated with the respect they deserve.
In addition to working alongside the likes of Wildlife SOS in India, Trunk also supports an incredible initiative in Thailand known as The Care Project.
The Care Project is a carefully constructed one or two week-long placement that allows you to learn from experts about the care of elephants in Thailand. It educates participants on the life of a rescued elephant, the daily struggle of the mahout’s and their families and much more. Participants are welcome to join the project in either Chiang Mai or Phuket, or a combination of the two locations.
Whichever location you choose to participate in this program you will become a part of a community with a rich history. Amongst other things you will help with the day to day tasks of caring for the elephants, learn from specialist vets about disease control and healthcare, receive a better understanding of the husbandry of elephants, observe the elephants in their natural surroundings and become a part of what we all hope will be a worldwide shift in how humans interact with elephants.
In the last 2 years, The Care Project has been responsible for 15 elephant rescues. An elephants journey after a rescue is often and long and arduous one. Most rescued elephants need rehabilitation, extra care and medication. In line with the mission of contributing to the members of the society, The Care Project is always brainstorming ways and ideas of how to improve and enrich the lives of those around them.
In addition to the direct support given to the elephants, the mahouts and their families, The Care Project also donates to other projects through contributions and donations and through the sale of Care Project merchandise. The other projects supported by The Care project have touched everybody connected to the work done here and we all wish to see each one of them fulfil their goals.
Such projects include; The Elephant Clinic and Hospice in Mae Wang province. The Matriarch Project, The Southern Elephant Hospital in Krabi, The Grassroots Project in Mae Wang and more.
WHAT WILL GET UP TO?
On arrival in Chiang Mai our team will be ready to collect you from either Chiang Mai international airport (Airport Code: CNX) or from Chiang Mai bus or train station. Just make sure that you’ve sent us your arrival details so we can organize your pick-up.
If you’re already in Chiang Mai, let us know and we will send you details of where to meet us and when.
DAY ONE – Saturday
This is the day you’ll arrive to meet up with our team in Chiang Mai. If you’re arriving in to the airport, train or bus station, just make sure we have your arrival time, and either the flight number or the number of the coach or train. This is very important as without it we won’t be able to meet you.
Once we’ve officially met you we’ll take the quick trip to a lovely hotel in the heart of the old city. Rooms here are perfect and have everything you need to rest, recharge and recover from your travels.
DAY TWO – Sunday
After breakfast at the hotel we’ll sit down and run through the plan for your stay with us in more detail. Whether you’ve chosen to stay for one or two weeks we’ll explain everything to you in more detail so that you can really make the most of your time in Thailand and on the project.
We’ll then head out and about and show you around this beautiful city. Chiang Mai was once the capital of Thailand and is therefore steeped in fascinating history.
This evening, once we’re freshened up from our days adventure, we’ll head out for a slap-up meal at a popular local restaurant.
DAY THREE to SIX – Monday to Thursday
Our team from the project will arrive at the hotel around 8:30am to collect us and transfer us about 45 minutes in to the jungles that surround Chiang Mai. Once there we’ll meet up with the local guides and coordinators to begin our project work.
On arrival we’ll receive an in-depth orientation about the project, the work that we’ll be joining, learning about the elephants, the mahouts, the locations and so much more. You'll lear more about your day to day plan and the activities that are waiting for you this week.
DAY SEVEN – Friday
For those that have chosen the one-week program, tonight is sadly your last night with us. Once we have finished our work at the project, as a group we’ll return to the hotel in Chiang Mai for our final night together. This often becomes a final night dinner and a few drinks to celebrate the support you’ve given to the elephants and for your life-changing experience!
DAY EIGHT – Saturday
If we’re saying good bye to you this morning then after lots of farewell hugs and hi-5’s, our team will be ready and willing to help you with any onward travel plans that you may have.
If you’re lucky enough to be joining us for a second week then today we have an incredible adventure of zip-lining through Thailand’s ancient jungle, surrounded by the wild gibbons, abseiling down rock faces and generally having the best time, ever!
DAY NINE – Sunday
After eight days of heart-racing adventures we know that you’ll appreciate a day off so your wish is granted! Today you can choose to simply relax around the pool or head off and do whatever you want. Whatever it is that you do, or don’t, your guide will be around to help you make it happen!
DAY TEN – Monday
Back in to it today and after breakfast we’re heading back to the elephants. Having already completed one full week at the project, this week will have a completely different feel as you’ll understand so much more about the project, the elephants, you’ll know a few Thai words and phrases and this will all enhance your time at the project.
DAY ELEVEN to FOURTEEN – Tuesday to Friday
This week will run along similar lines to week one, however, as this is a project working with animals, in an outdoor location, we can’t give you a set schedule. Whatever is required by the elephants, the mahouts and the project, we’ll all be a part of it.
This project is like nothing that you will have ever experienced. Your personal time spent with the elephants will change the way you feel about human interaction completely. You will be amongst the first to have a completely different outlook on the welfare of elephants in Thailand and educated on how there are projects operating extremely ethically and are doing what they can to only improve the lives of the elephants but are changing public perceptions, and lives.
Friday afternoon we’ll head back to the city for our final night together. This will usually be a big celebration; lots of group hugs, hi-5’s and the swapping of contact details with your new-found best friends!
COST: $850 for 1 week
$1,480 for 2 weeks
STARTS: Chiang Mai on ANY Saturday of every month
ENDS: Chiang Mai
DURATION: 7 nights or 14 nights
MIN. AGE: 17
All accommodation throughout your stay
All transport including airport pick up on arrival
Guided Chiang Mai tour including traditional Thai welcome meal
All meals during your stay at the project
Daily breakfast at weekend in Chiang Mai hotel accommodation
Daily interaction with the elephants
All activities as described in the itinerary
Flight of the Gibbons adventure activity
Project development work and associated costs
24/7 expert assistance from project coordinators
Hands on, expertly led interaction with the elephants at the project
10% donation towards the sustainability and ongoing security of The Care Project
Thai language lessons
Extensive pre-arrival information
Lifelong memories and new friendships!
Available Start Dates
You are welcome to join this project on
of any month!