We talk a lot about the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation (GTAEF) but one of the least known facts is they have an excellent intern program which is under the watchful eye of John Roberts who has dedicated his life to elephant conservation. Below you can see John Roberts holding a microphone as a group of Akha students sing in response to the donation of school supplies by The Elephant Story.
The GTAEF intern program offers interns interested in elephants to have access to the elephants, to work in veterinary care, to assist in elephant behavioral studies, or simply just hang out with the elephants and any visitors who would like to be introduced to them. The most successful interns have been those who have come with their own ideas of small projects they would like to pursue. Working with elephants is obviously not a career option for many but it has led to four volunteers that entered elephant conservation work, either from a veterinary standpoint or in the wider conservation world.
The GTAEF takes volunteers from anywhere though preference is given to those studying veterinary or conservation degrees. In fact, some qualified vets have joined and the GTAEF is part of the official veterinary externship for three universities in Australia and the US. However, if you have an interest in elephants they would be happy to work with you.
John bases the program on his early volunteer conservation forays which served him and all of us quite well. The program is funded by the Anantara Hotel Chain through the GTAEF which covers all basic costs, including accommodation, food and transportation from Chiang Rai. The interns are asked to find their own insurance and visas.
On a slightly different note, The GTAEF through the support of The Elephant Story has adopted a school in Moo Baan Chang which is home to 200 elephants and their owner families. The school there desperately needs an English language instructor volunteer to form a base for a self-sustainable eco-tourism base for this rural village.
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