Monday, November 28, 2011

1,000 Hours of Documented Elephant Observation Time

3,600,000 seconds, 60,000 minutes, 1,000 hours, 41.7 days, 6 weeks, 1.4 months. That is how much time GVI volunteers have spent hiking, observing, and caring for our elephants in the forest since the project began in July of 2010.

This is a big milestone for the project and a whole lot of thanks are due to all the volunteers that have joined us since the project began. Because of all your hard work and time spent hiking through the forest, often on muddy trails, through swarms of insects, and with the hot, tropical sun beating down, our elephants are thriving and happily living their lives in the forest.

Because of 1,000 hours of hard work, our herd of five elephants enjoy socializing, foraging naturally, and not being forced to work in tourist camps. Thong Dee, our oldest elephant, is happily living out her retirement years with her beloved mahout, Patti Saiee, while Mana and her infant Bpee Mai love eating all day while foraging in the forest. Boon Jan is also thriving, and her infant Song Kran, who was just a newborn when the project began, is growing like a weed. He has become such a playful elephant and now wonders away from his mom to socialize and play with Bpee Mai and the other adults.GVI volunteers have spent time observing our elephants in the forest five days a week since the project began. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, volunteers conduct social and foraging behaviour studies. On these days we follow the elephants for a few hours in the forest and study what they eat, and how they socialize. On Tuesdays and Thursdays volunteers conduct health checks on each elephant. During the health check hike volunteers dig through elephant poo to check for elephant health, and also conduct full body checks to monitor each elephant’s health and wellbeing.

The time volunteers spend observing the elephants is important to ensure their welfare and health are properly monitored. Once again, thanks to everyone who has joined the project and we hope more and more volunteers can come contribute and spend time with our herd in the future.