Reflections from a 5-Week Research Intern at KSES

My week with KSES
June 5, 2024
A Plethora of Knowledge Learnt
July 11, 2024
My week with KSES
June 5, 2024
A Plethora of Knowledge Learnt
July 11, 2024

Reflections from a 5-Week Research Intern at KSES

Imogen 5 week research intern –

I have officially lived my dream for the last month and a half in Thailand and it has been a life-changing experience that I will never forget. Participating in elephant behaviour research has been incredible, contributing to spreading awareness and improving animal welfare, as well as getting to know all the elephants’ unique personalities.

Throughout my time there, I discovered how KSES has helped these elephants live a happy, free life and learnt more about some of the struggles Asian Elephants face. It was surreal every time we saw the elephants on our hikes; I never got used it. Observing their natural behaviours was so inspiring, making me want to do everything I can to support their conservation and promote their well-being. Watching Junior play in the mud was a personal highlight, along with watching Dodo position himself perfectly against tree trunks and termite mounds to scratch the ‘right spot’.

Every single hike was a joy as the views were stunning. The terrain was challenging and steep at times, but the views made each climb worth it. It was rainy season so hiking after the rain made it additionally exciting and fun, slipping and sliding everywhere. I really felt immersed in the experience when Kanda offered us some leaves to eat on one of the hikes within my first week. I thought they tasted of sour grape, and I quickly became obsessed with them, grabbing bunches on most of my hikes just to snack on whilst walking to the elephants.

I specifically loved my time in the village. Every morning I was greeted with lots of friendly smiles by the local people living in the village and my lovely homestay’s dog, Café who’s enthusiastic welcome was a positive start to each day. Nee’s Corner also became one of my favourite places. There I could buy all sorts of delicious drinks; iced lattes in the morning, refreshing mango and banana smoothies in the afternoon and amazing Thai teas in the evening. Another highlight was Cris leading a really relaxing and regenerating session of yoga.

All of the community-based activities during my time there were really good fun. We taught children English at the nursery, litter picked around the village, defleaing dogs, filled eco-bricks, taught the village ladies English (they loved Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes) and my personal favourite was the biodiversity hike (we found lots of very cool, bright coloured bugs). We were given the opportunity also to go fishing with Kanda’s family, which was a real cultural experience, giving me the personal achievement of catching a fish with my own hands.

It was a fabulous personal experience and an absolute inspiration to engage with people who work tirelessly to help protect the species and individual elephants.

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