The Surin Project originated from a cooperation with the Surin Provincial Administrative Organization which approached us asking us to help them create a world-class elephant sanctuary to provide free ranging opportunities for the 180+ elephants that were present in the Surin Elephant Study Center.
Located in the small village of Baan Tha Klang in Surin province, the Elephant Study Center now subsidises nearly 200 mahouts and their elephants to live in the center and thus stay off the streets of Bangkok. The living conditions of the elephants in the center are far from perfect, with most elephants shackled all day long with little or nothing more to do than to stand in the sun.
It is the role and responsibility of the Surin Project to help improve these living conditions and give these elephants the opportunity to roam free and behave naturally. Bringing volunteers to the project for a week or more at a time allows us to work with the mahouts, helping them plant grass, sugarcane and bamboos and build shelters for the elephants all while their elephants are off their chains and interacting together.
It is our hope that by showing the local mahouts that people are willing to come and help them and see elephants in a natural setting, they will be provided with the tools to adapt their husbandry methods to be more considerate of the elephants’ welfare.