Volunteering in Thailand, wildlife rescue centre

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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Volunteering in Thailand, wildlife rescue centre


By volunteering at the Wildlife Rescue Centre you will make a major contribution to the welfare of animals in Thailand. Your time and efforts will help to care for the animals, and the majority of the programme cost will go direct to the Centre providing a critical source of funding for their future work.

On a personal level you will have a unique opportunity to work alongside some incredible wildlife and gain the satisfaction of helping to make a difference to the lives of these animals.

In addition to this direct benefit, we try to ensure:

Social responsibility - before volunteers depart we provide them with a detailed information pack on the area they will be visiting. We try to educate and encourage our volunteers to understand and respect the local cultures and customs and get involved with local communities.

Economic responsibility Ė for over 10 years we have been providing volunteers to help at charitable projects around the world. A UK charity has now been launched to build on this success by providing financial assistance to overseas causes as well. The organisations we work with are often struggling to fund the work they are doing so every penny raised makes a real difference.

The majority of the fee that volunteers pay goes directly to the Wildlife Rescue Centre. The Centre provides employment for many local Thai staff. While volunteers are in-country, we encourage them to buy locally and support local businesses.

Environmental responsibility Ė one of the main negative impacts of our volunteers travelling, is the carbon dioxide created from flights. We work with a 'carbon neutral' charity to help ensure that an amount of carbon is sequestered through tree planting or the promotion of low energy technologies. While our volunteers and customers are overseas, we identify and encourage simple steps to minimise their impact on the local environment.


Educational tours are organised for young school children at the centre, the team believe that the education of the next generation is critical to the survival of the endangered species, and conservation of wildlife as a whole. They also educate the local community on poaching which is a commonplace in rural areas.

The centre actively campaigns for better animal treatment in Thailand including issues with illegal pet trading, hunting and poaching and the use of animals within the tourist industry. They distribute educational materials to travel agents in Thailand to ask them to stop endorsing places where animals are used for entertainment, and in particular they have led campaigns against ĎTiger Templeí; a formerly popular tourist activity, which has been exposed for its cases of animal cruelty. The centre often works in collaboration with local authorities including the Royal Forestry Department to confiscate animals from markets or illegal traders.

The exploitation of animals in the tourist industry is common in Thailand however by offering full time employment to locals in the wildlife centre, teaching about conservation issues and showing that tourists will visit Thailand to simply see the animals and to help prevent wildlife from suffering, then gradually a change in mentality could possibly be achieved.

2 Reviews of Volunteering in Thailand, wildlife rescue centre

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 13 May 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I went to the Wildlife Rescue Centre in Thailand, this was a fantastic project helping animals who had been mostly kept as pets. Itís hard to say what was the most memorable part of this holiday as there was so much variety and different experiences, itís difficult to decide what was the best part of it.

I enjoyed working in teams and caring for the animals, the atmosphere in the centre was just what I hoped for, somewhere dynamic with a lot going on and approachable friendly volunteer coordinators and it was nice that there was local Thai staff working on the project and they were friendly too! I enjoyed feeding the leopard cats and looking after the civets. It was exciting having the chance to go to other places outside the centre and just being in Thailand. The two wonderful coordinators Matt and Tommy were very inspiring and helpful.

Overall I would say the volunteering was very well organised and there was always information available on tasks and support when I needed it. I really enjoyed listening to the gibbons singing and calling to each other and the two little cats Clyde and Maggie, they were really sweet and friendly and there was even a dog there I liked, a black and grey collie but I didnít find out his name!! Bruno the baby that I babysat, he was just lovely. What can say there were wild birds, butterflies, sunshine.......

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

I would say be prepared for some hard work and to rough it a little bit. The Thai staff donít approach the volunteers, but if you say hello and smile they are friendly back and will even give you a lift on their Honda to and from the village if they see you. It is a good idea to bring basic things like plasters and anti histamines, but I would also recommend buying essentials in the village as there is a pharmacy and shops and these items are so cheap, but they donít sell batteries (not ones that work!!) or much electrical equipment, but there is a market on a Sunday and some nights there are stalls that sell clothes and other items which is nice to buy from as I feel it supports the local economy. Just go there, its going to be a different experience for everyone that goes.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Iím not sure my individual holiday benefited local people but I definitely felt that this project benefits local people. Volunteers use the internet cafe and shop in the village which must benefit the local businesses, also people can come and visit the centre and learn about the plight of animals such as elephants in Thailand, also that they are Thai staff and buy produce for the animals must be of great benefit to the area.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

I would say this was an excellent experience, I learnt a lot in the month I was there and had a lot of fun with the other volunteers. However it was not an easy project to do all the time, as it was hard work, lots of biting ants, the accommodation is in the centre is basic and the village does not cater for tourists, but that is what makes this project special and as I intend to return to Thailand and do another project, I feel that this has prepared me and Iím definitely glad I chose this project first instead of the dog and cat rescue which I intend to do next.

Reviewed on 15 Oct 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

I spent three weeks at an animal rescue centre in Thailand. I stayed with a bunch of other Western volunteers and we helped with the day to day care of the animals. I had so many fantastic experiences, and the centre itself was in an idyllic area, on the grounds of a Buddhist temple. One highlight was spotting wild elephants in a nearby national park, after dark. It was such a thrill to see them without any keepers around.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

If you are booking this holiday, I think you will find it very easy to get on at the centre. It isn't hard to fit in; perhaps my only tip would be to bring long trousers because the bugs at night are truly a nuisance!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The holiday as it is run is a definite benefit to local people; we would by our groceries form the local village, use the internet cafe there and so on. As for the environment, the aim was to help rehabilitate animals native to Thailand for release, so I hope that my time there not only didn't harm the environment, but in fact helped it in some small way.

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