Mondulkiri Elephant & Wildlife Sanctuary, Sen Monorom

(120+ reviews on the web)
Nature / Wildlife Tour
The Mondulkiri Elephant & Wildlife Sanctuary is a nonprofit wildlife conservation & ecotourism project, developed by L.E.A.F Cambodia, in cooperation with the local Indigenous Bunong communities in Mondulkiri. The sanctuary's local forest & wildlife conservation programs have 4 main goals:

1: To protect the area's beautiful community forests from logging and development. Benefit & improve the lives of poor communities and to preserve the special culture of the Indigenous Bunong community

2: To rescue & provide sanctuary for local working elephants currently used for tourist rides, logging and heavy farm work.

3:To develop a facility for the rescue and reintroduction of trafficked & captive wildlife

4:To promote and demonstrate sustainable ecotourism, educate locals about long term conservation benefits & develop a passion for helping wild animals among Mondulkiri's youth.

By developing an ethical elephant ecotourism program, the project provides an alternative, sustainable means of income for the village families - the sustainable income reduces the financial need for logging & hunting. It also creates additional jobs, opportunities, and the chance to learn English.

Elephants at the sanctuary can live free from work, nor are they subjected to the harmful practices and risks they faced while ‘employed’ in logging or tourist ride camps.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • I did the one day tour with them and felt l was on good hands. Tom, one of the guides really cares about elephants and the protection of the environment. Also he speaks English well (without putting t...  more »
  • Wow. What an amazing experience. Bathing with the elephants was the highlight. We got the opportunity to get so close and personal with such a massive animal and realize how intelligent and social the...  more »
  • Recently I did the 2 days trip, and it was great ! During the first day, I and 2 other guests, visited and discovered the sanctuary area and work. The guide brang us in many place around like the comm...  more »
Google
  • Terrible Experience The tour started very well. We got dropped off on the side of the road and we started walking across grass fields and over hills with our tour guide Tom. He explained some very interesting facts about the local flora and fauna. We kept hiking and exploring plants until midday. Slowly, we got suspicious. Is he flaying time? We haven't seen a single animal, not an elephant nor other animals, so far. Right before we finally "found" one elephant, Tom shouted out loud, "I found the elephant!". It was before he was actually able to see the large animal. Except Tom is one of the fortunate people who is able to look around corners. He only saw the guy who was leading the elephant with a large wooden pole in his hand sitting on a rock beside the track very angry looking. We didn't find the elephant there in the woods by accident. The animal was lead there by his leader. We were allowed to feed bananas to the elephant. That was our only close up interaction with this elephant for the whole day after all. The elephant wasn't allowed to get too close to us. Because it is dangerous, they told us. To keep space between us and the giant, the elephant leader shouted out very loud and rude sounding commands and threatened the animal with the pole he carried in his hands and if this wasn't enough he grabbed the elephant very hard by the ear and pulled it backwards. Somebody of our group asked about the other elephants in the sanctuary. Because the office in town advertises the sanctuary with about 5 elephants. Tom answered, that they were on a wedding. I went through many reviews from the past written by people who participated in a tour like ours and they always reported about 1 or 2 elephants they have seen on the whole tour. And there is always somebody with the elephant, leading it. They carry a wooden pole to threaten the elephant, to hit it with it. The next point on our one day adventure was going back to the camp. That meant, we went ahead and the elephant with the elephant leader followed us. Of course, loudly shouted commands and threats towards the elephant. After lunch and our group was done swimming. We were supposed to give the elephant a bath. The elephant couldn't or didn't want to go in the water. The elephant leader yelled at him. He forced him down a big, steep step into the water. The elephant screamed while sliding downhill into the water. Almost fell over and screamed even louder. It was horrible to even look at. When the elephant was in its weakest position, almost falling over, the elephant leader jumped on its back and lead him into deeper water. He forced him to go down and take a bath, always threatening with the wooden pole in his hand. They tell us, that elephants love taking a bath. But this elephant didn't like a bath in this moment. And that’s the whole point of being free. To take a bath when the elephant wants to take a bath. Not when we force the elephant to it. But at this point, I don't want to miss out to tell you about the monkey which lives in the camp. There was a dog carrier where they locked him up while no visitors were around. I saw one of the residents of the village kicking the monkey in the face. Another resident shot him with a airgun while we were right there. And I don't want to miss out to tell you, is a perfect business idea. The volunteers are preparing everything for the 1 and 2 day groups. Means, tourists cook for tourists while paying top Dollar for working there which includes cooking, washing dishes and building houses. These elephants in this "sanctuary" aren't as free as people from the tour office advertise. They are still used as work elephants and they are just rented out for the time to show them to the tourist groups.
  • I am volunteering here right now. The staff there is pretty nice and friendly. They organise tours to see the elphants, feed them and go with them for a bath. All of the elephants enjoying happyly their retirement. You can as well go for a jungle hike. I stayed as a volunteer inside of the sanctury which is located in the middle of the jungle. There I sleept in a traditional bunong hut, which is the housing of a minority of this region, which is a pretty basic accomodation. I loved the sound of the nature during the hole stay and the feeling of peace and silence. Compared to other elephant projects they charged a reasonable price for my budget.
  • Im right now on my third day and until now it was really amazing. At the first day we did some hiking to explore the nature and we visited some bunong farmers (the minority in mondulkiri). At the second day we searched the elephants and walked with them and went with them to the elephant pool to wash and scrub them. On both days you can swim in waterfalls. The accomodation is a traditional hut with hammock or matress. So no luxus, all basic but if you like nature its amazing. Particulary the fires we made every evening to relax and spent some time talking have been amazing. PS : They have two small cats in the sanctuary, sooo cute *-*
  • Good place to hang out, social hub with free tea, coffee. You can refill water bottles here.
  • I volunteered there a few months ago. Lovely forest, nice visitor center and tour for an important cause.