Wildlife rescue center in Thailand
I spent 3 weeks at Wildlife rescue center for animals in Thailand, taking care of animals, feeding, cleaning, observation of animal behaviour from december 2014 to january 2015. The organisation is WILDLIFE FRIENDS FOUNDATION http://www.wfft.org/
December 2014 I travelled to Thailand for wildlife center volunteering for ca 3 weeks. This type of volunteering means paying for lodging and working as a volunteer, that is contributing your time and your money to help support the wildlife rescue work.
I spent 5 days in Bangkok, sightseeing, visiting museums and shopping, lots of shopping, markets, night markets and weekend markets. it really is shopping frenzy! In between shopping, I also managed to visit Bangkok art and culture center, saw free exhibitions but the weirdest was that the top photo exhibitions was from a member of the royal family! I also went to the cinema and after ca 20 minutes of commercials, they played the anthem and all thai people stood up & saluting. then the commercial continued and the movie eventually started. The street food in Bangkok is fun to watch and eat, I tried out different things, sweet, spicy and desserts. I also took a cooking course and learnt to make 5 new dishes! haha and after all these years I know how to make noodles the proper way. I can definitely recommend a cooking class for anyone visiting Bangkok.
Here I have been an elephant volunteer, waking up ca 6 am in the morning. The first shift 6.30 am until ca 7-8 am depending on the chorus todo (making banana balls, clearing up garbage, chopping fruit). After that breakfast time, which I don't eat. The next shift is at 9 am, until ca 10-11 am (giving the elephant a scrub / shower, fruits and banana trees).
Lunch is at 12-13 pm where we are served western or thai-mixed/fake food. However the good thing is there is always vegetarian food or vegetables. The bad thing is it is not spicy or salty at all. Disappointingly it is mostly sweet. After some days I befriends the cooks and started getting more authentic thai food.
The next shift we have 13 pm, and are done ca 14-15 pm (shower, fruits and banana trees). The last shift of the day is 15-17 pm (making banana balls, fruits, gathering garbage). So far my shifts were very lazy and calm, with lots of free time. The elephant I have spend most time, is called Boonmee and is very visitor/tourist friendly.
The center gets visitors and tourists everyday, up to 20 people and these get to go for a walk with her and give her a scrub.
My personal experience so far, it is cool to see and observe these silent giants. They are so calm and quiet. They definitely like eating and being hand fed. Today the elephant slobbered my whole arm. So far it was very funny to scrub and bath the elephant. At the center there are plenty of other animals which have been rescued or bought and placed here, such as monkeys, gibbons, asian bears, birds, etc. 1 week I also served and worked with all these other animals. The chorus were chopping fruits, vegetables, gathering garbage and cleaning the enclosures. I already had an interesting gibbon experience, one of the monkeys had escaped the inclosure and came towards me, help my legs, smelled me and checked whats under my shorts, hahaha! The same monkey gave me its hand in my palm .
The temperature is hot, ca 28-32 degrees, variating from cloudy to sunny. I share room with 2 other ladies (a french and dutch) whom both snore. So I wake up either because of the animal sounds or the snoring at night. It is never quiet here, all the animals especially gibbons make a lot of noise. And then we have ca 15 dogs, cats and hens, chickens etc. Not to mention the motorcycles and scooters which pass by everyday.
To summarize, most of the people who volunteered were "white people" as least when I was there in 2014. Mostly europeans, some australians, a few americans and latinos. Many of these persons were in there 20+ and a few of us who were 30+ going towards 40+. This wildlife rescue center is founded by a dutch guy and his thai wife. The people working with the animals, veterinary students, veterinarian and locals are all thai persons. I found them all very friendly and hospitable.