Elephants in Cambodia
Elephants in Cambodia are a bit like temples in the fact that they are everywhere.
Below are the listings for some of the supported elephant projects. As with everything in Cambodia, it’s not always as it seems so we list the ethical projects and certainly don’t approve of elephant riding. The following listings are all elephant sanctuaries. There aren’t any wild elephants left in Cambodia.
The three main elephant experiences are:
All of them are in Mondulkiri, and whilst the number of elephants varies they are all essentially offering the same experience. You get to see the elephants up close in what is the closest thing to their natural habitat, their impact and relationship with the local community and learn about why they are here and their history.
Pretty much all of them were once captive elephants that have now been ‘retired’ and are looked after by volunteers and people from the local community. They do occasionally wander out of the community project and the forest into farms and destroy crops. The bunong people get understandably upset and generally, there’s a fee to pay for ruined crops.
However, its definitely an experience of a lifetime and well worth the time and travel from Siem Reap or Phnom Penh to your chosen elephant sanctuary. You can get up close and hug an elephant, how many people can say they’ve done that.
Bunong elephant project is an exciting new sanctuary that has been developed in consultation and partnership with the local Bunong community. This project is dedicated to promoting the welfare of both elephants and the local indigenous community, all the income provides much needed support for the indigenous people and their elephants. Thank to this association, elephants spend their time in the forest and are no longer exploited commercially or put under stress with elephant rides, heavy farm work or logging. They can relax and live free in natural forest, eating bamboo, grass, playing in mud baths, swim in the river and more importantly socialize with other elephants.
The Mondulkiri Elephant & Wildlife Sanctuary is a protected forest area and eco-tourism wildlife conservation center near Sen Monorom, Mondulkiri province, Cambodia. Visitor contributions directly sponsor working elephant retirement, local reforestation & captive / trafficked wildlife rescues.
"The Elephant Valley Project is a bit of an abstract experience, you walk off into the elephant’s natural habitat and watch them being elephants. There is no riding, no tricks, no shows, just elephants being elephants in their own natural space. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?" (Jack Highwood - Founder of EVP)
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