Animal lover Roseleen Harrison leaves the Isle of Man this week to spend a month volunteering at a Thai elephant sanctuary.
Many of the Asian elephants at the Thailand Elephant Sanctuary, south of Bangkok, have previously been used as ‘begging’ elephants living in poor and unsafe conditions in cities or being exploited at elephant camps in tourist resorts.
Roseleen, of Port Erin, who featured on iomtoday last week calling for the introduction of an Animal Welfare Act, said: ‘I have a genuine love and compassion for animals, and have found elephants to be very emotional and family-orientated, much like humans.
‘I believe they should be protected and I will continue to do what I can to help.
‘The world’s wild animal population is dwindling and I feel I have a duty to help. Last year, the black African rhino was declared extinct and I don’t want to see any other species added to the list.’
Roseleen, volunteering through Globalteer, will work a six-day week alongside the professional keepers to enable the animals to live a life as close as possible to their wild relatives. Her jobs will include cleaning paddocks, bathing the elephants, collecting fruits, walking the elephants to the lake or into the forest to forage, and performing basic health checks.
‘I have been told to be prepared to work hard,’ she said.
She added: ‘I can’t wait to get there, I feel very lucky. It’s one thing to donate my money to worthy causes but it is a different matter and feeling to be there and to be hands on with the day-to-day running of the project.’