I am currently working at the Millennium Elephant Foundation (MEF). They are a pretty cool group of people and include volunteers from Ireland, England, Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, and, of course, the USA currently.
I must warn you that some of the photos you may see may seem like cruelty towards the elephants but you must remember that the tradition of the Mahouts and elephant training has been part of Sri Lankan culture for years and the way they are doing things is part of their culture even if we may not agree with it. I will say that MEF is working with the Mahouts on alternative training methods but it is a slow process. So please keep these things in mind when viewing the photos and videos I have included.
Working for MEF is not for the faint of heart. You have to get up at about 6:45am every morning in order to, literally, sling poop and clean and elephant pen. However, after that you get the privilege of bathing your elephant in the river. The river isn't the cleanest thing in the world but cleaning an elephant is as cool as it sounds!
The volunteers also have to do other projects like move a ton of poop, deliver poop to the paper making factory, check your elephant's feet for sores, etc. and feed them treats and vitamins. You also get to set up games for them and just are able to sit back and observe them as much as you want. It is pretty awesome.
I think in my next post I will include what the daily schedule looks like. I will never I have never slept better from physical exhaustion!
I will also try and include a post that details a little about each of the elephants.
For now enjoy the below videos and photos.
If you enjoy the elephants and want to support this project you can actually adopt one of the elephants for one year. If you decide to adopt you will get a nice packet of information once I return to the states. Talk to you soon.