Mahouts Elephant Foundation

Mahouts Elephant Foundation

About

Mahouts Elephant Foundation is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving and protecting the lives of Asian elephants. Founded on patience and peace and built through hard work and trust we are a foundation that works through ground-breaking collaborations with local communities fostering harmony and dedicating ourselves to protecting Asian elephants and the communities that coexist with them.

Our mission is to work toward a shift in attitude within tourism that facilitates the return of captive, working elephants to a protected forest habitat.
Mahouts Elephant Foundation works on the ground to develop sustainable, welfare-focused tourist experiences in order to support the needs and livelihoods of the mahouts (traditional elephant keepers), their families, and the local communities, in conjunction with the needs of the elephants.

Reviews

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Matt
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Enriching and fulfilling experience!

If you are looking for an enriching and fulfilling experience with elephants in Thailand, please look no further. The volunteering program with the Mahouts Elephant foundation was exactly what we were looking for. Being immersed in a Karen community was so culturally rewarding and the kindness we received was overwhelming. It was truly an enlightening experience in every way. We gained knowledge about the state of elephant tourism in Thailand and, by the end, knew we had made the most ethical decision in choosing this volunteer opportunity. By clearing campsites and building dams to collect water for wildlife, we felt we were getting our hands dirty and doing some good rather than just being a spectator. The week ended with a camp out and many hours spent observing four beautiful elephants in their natural habitat. All expectations were greatly exceeded and I encourage you to consider this exceptional week in Hoyt Pakoot. You won’t regret it! Da Blue!

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Sasha
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Experience!!!

Can not recommend enough! What a special experience. This was educational, impactful, inspirational and very fun . My best friend and I decided to come volunteer for a week and we were very happy with that decision. It felt really great to help with projects in the village and surrounding areas. From building dams, to village cleaning projects , to clearing campsites, it felt rewarding to help give back. The village itself was very welcoming, open and kind to us. We loved staying with a family. Great simple accommodations, delicious food and the best company. Then the elephants!!! It was magical to watch these beautiful giants in their natural habitat, and the mahouts made us feel very safe. Camping out under the most amazing stars, sleeping in hammocks and sitting around a campfire was another huge bonus. If you are looking for a real and ethical experience with elephants, this is it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open, take it all in, enjoy the moment, learn as much as you can, ask questions and wear good hiking shoes!
Danielle
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience!

I attended this study abroad program in August of 2018 and it was the best experience of my life! This was my first time traveling outside of the country by myself and it was amazing. I felt completely safe under the supervision of the staff in and out of the forest. The Mahout foundation has an fantastic staff and the people living in the village are beyond exceptional. Everyone is super friendly and love to interact with you and get to know you. I got to be well educated on ecotourism and the amazing herd of elephants I got to go out in the forest and see. Learning how Asian elephants interact in their natural environment just shows how it is the best place for them to be so, they can thrive and be happy and healthy :) If you are thinking of attending this program I highly recommend it was the best decision I ever made and it meant a lot to me.

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Laurelie
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Study abroad 2018

I completed the study abroad in August 2018 and it was an absolutely amazing experience. The village is beautiful and the people are so kind and friendly. The people you work alongside in the field are so fun and knowledgable.

You learn a lot about conducting animal behaviour studies in the field. Before starting to collect data, you have assistance in preparing your research question and methodology.
There's a lot of long hours hiking in tough terrian - which I personally found to be a fun challenge.

The Mahouts Elephant Foundation is truely an example of community-based conservation. The Karen people are happy with the work they do together and how the elephants are kept in the forest.

This is an invaluable experience and would recommend it to everyone who has the chance to do it.

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