Thailand Elephant Service

By Wilderness Adventures February 14, 2013

An Adventure You (and the elephants) Will Never Forget.


Why work with Elephants?

Elephants are some of the smartest animals on the planet. In terms of intelligence and sheer “computing power,” elephants are on-par with both dolphins and large primates. They even have the capacity to use tools and solve problems. Unfortunately, many Elephants in southeast Asia find themselves under threat from industrial development, poaching and tourism. As the economy in Thailand and its surrounding countries grows, the corresponding infrastructural development shrinks elephants’ habitat, limits their access to fresh water and blocks their natural migration routes. This restriction of movement, space and resources makes thriving more difficult for this already endangered species. Poaching is, of course, a perennial threat to elephants’ survival, especially in neighboring countries such as Myanmar. Every year, countless male elephants are hunted for their valuable ivory tusks, leaving a disparity in the population’s gender balance, and ultimately limiting the recovery of the species. Finally, and perhaps most surprisingly, tourism itself can be a threat to individual elephants; in order to supply visitors’ demand for cute, young elephants to ride, many baby elephants are separated from their mothers (who are killed), and then domesticated using harsh and often violent training tactics so that they become subordinate, ride-able and lovable. For such a beloved creature that is so similar in emotional capacity to ourselves, it is highly unfortunate that humans continue to be such a strong threat to these beautiful animals. Clearly, the need for help is great.


How does Grand Earth Adventures help?

As our global arm of experiential programming, Grand Earth Adventures is dedicated to bringing great international travel experiences to young people. Not only are our international adventures fun, but they also thread critical, substantive components throughout each adventure. Our Thailand Service Adventure contains great examples of how we give back to each of our amazing destinations. By partnering with Thailand’s most renowned elephant conservation center, we are able to bring health and well-being into the lives of many elephants. Staying on-site in the center’s special rehabilitation park, we work hands-on with elephants – feeding, bathing and interacting with these beautiful creatures. As a reward for their labors, our students learn first-hand about elephant behavior, ecology and health – departing with a deeply ingrained appreciation for both elephants and the fragility of life inside southeast Asia’s delicate ecosystem.


How can I get involved?

A couple of spaces remain on this summer’s Thailand Service Adventure. Throughout this adventure, you’ll form close bonds with Thailand’s unique and inspirational culture, customs, culinary delights and conservation needs. Your adventure begins with an introduction to Thai language before embarking on an incredible rock climbing adventure in the beautiful Mae On Valley. Next, we’ll roll up our sleeves for three important days of immersive service work – living and volunteering in a local village alongside community leaders and village elders before enjoying a fun day of authentic Thai cooking classes where we’ll get a literal flavor for the country. Finally, we’ll begin the portion of our journey that most of us have been waiting for since we set foot in this magical country – our chance to contribute to the well-being of elephants in need. Add SCUBA diving, whitewater rafting and monastery immersion into the mix, and this 27-day adventure is sure to be the most memorable and important summer of your life.


Learn More

Discover our elephant service adventure on our website, where you’ll find a detailed daily itinerary, photos and interactive trip maps. Just a few spaces remain, so please call 800-533-2281 for information regarding availability on our Thailand Service Adventure.


Additionally, you can get up-close-and-personal with Elephants (and many other amazing large mammals) on our Tanzania Service and Kilimanjaro adventures.