Elephant Livelihood Initiative Environment’s (E.L.I.E) primary goal is to improve the health and welfare of domestic elephants in Mondulkiri Province. The secondary goal is to work with the local population and the problems they face. E.L.I.E now runs a number of projects in Mondulkiri to help achieve these goals, including an elephant research and monitoring program, mobile veterinarian program and an indigenous community based organisation program.
Pride of place is the Elephant Valley Project (EVP), an ecotourism project that provides an alternative approach to elephant care, rehabilitation and conservation. EVP is a sanctuary for overworked and abused captive elephants in Mondulkiri province. Under the direction of Jack Highwood, the twelve retired elephants spend their time roaming, grazing, bathing, and socialising in the project’s 650 hectares of natural forest. This exceptional amount of land gives the rescued elephants the freedom to live as much like wild elephants as possible. EVP is also dedicated to wild elephant conservation. Over twenty percent of annual revenues are spent on funding specialised law enforcement teams who patrol and protect nearby forests, an effort unprecedented among captive elephant establishments.
EVP will pick you up from Sen Monorom and transport you to the project site. You will follow one of the family groups through the forest, observe the elephants’ natural behaviours, and learn about their individual stories. You spend the full day with the elephants, shadowing them in the jungle for the morning and afternoon, learning about the elephants, the local mahouts and the forest.
If you wish you could spend the afternoon volunteering, for example gardening, farming and on small building projects. If you wish to do this, then we will need plenty of notice.
You are able to stay overnight at the Elephant Valley Lodge, but this accommodation is also used by long-term volunteers and is not always available.