By Molly Seymour – 2 week volunteer
As a full-time-student approaching the end of compulsory education in the UK, I was keen to see what else was out there. It was then I decided to do some travelling in Thailand for a month with a friend, together we looked for opportunities to join conservation projects in the area part time. Our researching brought us to Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary, about 4 hours from Chaing Mai city.
On January 26th 2020 we joined the team and everyone was so lovely and welcoming. We were introduced to a different way of life here and to the project itself; the main aim being to research and provide insight into how these beautiful creatures should be living.
Everyday for two weeks started in the same way, communal breakfasts at base camp at 08:00 (across a river from the Village itself). The hiking starts at 08:30 and the distance varied from 1-3 miles and this depended on where the elephants were. Find the elephants was amazing and then, using the next 90 minutes, observations take place. Here, research is focusing on the Asian elephant’s behavior in a semi-wild environment. Observations of what the elephants were eating (with help from the mahouts) and how far away they were to the other elephants, and their behavior in this environment are all elements of interest.
When back at base this data is complied with the rest in order to be used to educate and inform others.
This research is essential to the Asian elephants in Thailand and I was apart of it and that is amazing. I am in awe of the passion Kerri and her team have to these animals, really inspiring. Furthermore, you are educated yourself on the culture and social dynamics of this society and how they live their day-day life. Truly a thing of beauty.