Thailand: Practice and Loy Krathong

Update from our Elephant conservation volunteer holiday Thailand

Our team of elephant citizen scientists arrived into the village yesterday. With a slightly theory-intensive day of classroom learning, they all went to bed nice and early ready for today, our practice day in the field.

This morning with lunches made and clipboards packed, we set off on a 1.5 h trek to find the elephant herd. The sun was shining and the ground was dry as we made our way up steep slopes, only to find out we had to go back down and in another direction.

Eventually we found our quarry, a few minutes ahead of schedule, which gave us time to just enjoy their presence before we started practising our newly-acquired data collecting techniques. We spent half an hour or so on each different technique, which follows the elephants behavioural categories, their proximity to the rest of the herd and also documenting which species of plant they eat throughout the day.

Once we had returned to base, we entered the data gathered onto the computer spreadsheets, which will be the legacy we leave behind for our scientists.

It also just so happened that tonight is Loy Krathong (the festival of light on the full moon), where you make offerings from plants and flowers that float. The villagers came to our base to prepare them with us. We then light the floats and sent them down the river. The tradition is to send all your worries and bad feelings with them. So we did and I feel this can only be a good omen for the rest of our Thailand expedition.

Update from our Thailand expedition working as an elephant conservation volunteer

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