I was studying for my boards last September when I realized how unsatisfied I was with how I was spending my time. I had been studying for weeks and felt like my life was passing by and that I was not enjoying it to its fullest.
I want to get involved in something meaningful, I told myself.
And guess what? I did.
I came upon a job post online from a French NGO called ElefantAsia that provides free veterinary care to domesticated elephants in Laos. They had just built a hospital and were looking for a volunteer veterinarian to assist the vet team and provide care to the inpatients.
What an opportunity, I thought. Gain real hands-on veterinary experience working with elephants in an exotic country in Southeast Asia?
I applied right away! A month later I was on my way to a country totally unknown to me, with a totally different culture, beliefs, and a language I could not understand…. FUN!
From small animals to elephants, from the Dominican Republic to Laos; I have no boundaries when it comes to saving lives. I got here last November and although my volunteer work is not over I have learned a great deal of wildlife medicine.
Having the opportunity of working closely with these noble giants is just indescribable. I’ve been involved in research, gained real veterinary hands-on experience, attended to emergency calls, practiced standing sedation, gone on weeks-long missions, and provided care to the elephants at the center, including mothers and their babies!
My adventure here has been a once in a lifetime experience, not just professionally speaking but culturally, personally and spiritually as well. I have learned so much from both the people and the elephants! Unfortunately, my time here is coming to an end and we’re looking for an adventurous volunteer veterinarian to replace me. The job description is below. If you are interested or have any inquiries feel free to write to the email address included in this post.
ElefantAsia is a registered non-profit NGO working to provide veterinary care to domestic Asian Elephants across Lao PDR. We run ambulatory field missions in our specially equipped 4×4 ‘Jumbo Ambulances’ as well as respond to emergency calls from Mahouts. Additionally we’ve recently opened the only Elephant Hospital in Laos and frequently transport critically ill animals here for intensive or long term treatment. All treatment and training is provided free of charge and often entails travel for extended periods into remote and undeveloped areas of an already remote and undeveloped country.
Duration: 3 – 6 months
Role: To assist and provide support to the current international head veterinarian. To manage the day-to-day running of the Elephant Hospital and provided veterinary care to any inpatients. Provide technical expertise and supervision through both practical and didactic teaching to the Lao staff.
Description: The majority of your time will be spent at the Elephant Hospital dealing with inpatients and the resident adult and juvenile elephants, including prophylactic and routine veterinary care. Depending on the individual it may be possible to participate in emergency and routine missions around the country. Some time may also be spent at our office in the capital Vientiane when working on research projects and proposals.
Details: Food and Accommodation while at the Elephant Conservation Center will be provided. We will also cover visa costs while here.
Applicants: The ideal applicant will be flexible with suddenly changing situations, happy to work independently where required and excited to experience a vastly different culture.
Please send your covering letter and CV to Mr William Thomas BVSc MRCVS at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elliott here again: So do we have any takers? Clearly this is a unique opportunity to get some hands-on experience working with elephants that is not often available anywhere in the world. I know Karla has consulted on some cases with zoo vets she’s gotten to know in the States, so this would also provide for some interesting networking opportunities.
Anyone up for an adventure in Laos?