Why was the name "Kindred Spirit" given?
Kindred spirits are two people who are connected and bonded together on a higher level of consciousness. This connection is similar to the very special bond that can happen between a mahout and elephant who care for each other deeply. Although there are many people who take care of elephants just to earn an living and have no interest in connecting with them, our mahouts have grown up with their elephants, they know each other inside out and they therefore possess this now very rare connection. Despite the fact that they are animal and human, they are also kindred spirits.
What qualifications do I need?
You don't need to have any qualifications, just the passion and desire to help the Asian elephant.
What should I bring?
Once you sign up to visit or volunteer, you will be sent an information pack which will tell you what exactly you need to bring and answer all your questions.
How old do I need to be?
We accept visitors and volunteers of any age, however anyone under 18 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Please bear in mind that hikes may be physically demanding so assess your level of fitness for yourself.
Can I stay for less than a week?
Although we recommend that you spend at least one week with us to get the full experience, we also run a visitors program for 3 days and 2 nights. Check out our visitor page for more information.
Why should I choose this program?
Up until 1989, Thailand was deforested at an alarming rate, causing elephants to lose their home. There are now very few places where you can observe elephants in their natural habitat, as there is simply not enough forest to home all the captive elephants. Our sanctuary is very lucky to be surrounded by such a huge forest which has enough food to allow our elephants to live there full time. Your presence and funds will not only change the elephants lives, but will also help our community by running many community programs. We also give donations to our village. Unlike most elephant venues, we are a registered Non-Profit Foundation and not a business.
Do you buy your elephants?
No. In many instances when an elephant is sold, the previous owner will then use this money to replace the sold elephant by buying one that has been poached from the wild (these are sold at a much cheaper rate). We at Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary do not wish to encourage this. Our elephants belong to our co-founder Sombat's family, they have been in his family for many generations and we pay Sombat's family a monthly salary to rent the elephants. This close connection enables us to secure our elephants freedom without contributing to illegal trade.
Why do elephants need to be kept in captivity?
Elephant tourism in Thailand is very a very complex situation. The reality of it is, due to the huge deforestation, without tourism the elephants would have nowhere to go. Our elephants are very lucky to have the forest in our sanctuary to roam, but this is not possible for every elephant. This is why we work with our community and other organizations to bring better welfare and future for all captive elephants through science.
A summary of the hardship of mahouting and the need for tourism can be found here:The Human Cost of Elephant Tourism