A YOUNG travel lover got up close and personal with elephants while volunteering in Thailand.
Caroline Kluyver, of Lower Moor, near Pershore, took part in a three-week conservation project with Frontier, a non-profit conservation and development non-governmental organisation.
The 21-year-old graduate commercial analyst spent a week acclimatising and immersing herself in the country’s culture with visits to temples, a school, markets and ruins and learning some Thai cookery.
Her August adventure then took her to the Sappraiwan Grand Hotel and Resort in Wang Thong, Phitsanulok, where she spent two weeks with a group of 12 elephants.
Miss Kluyver said: “It was relaxing. Spending two weeks riding, feeding, washing and swimming with elephants was a fantastic experience which I would recommend to anyone.
“My most memorable moments were diving off the back of an elephant and watching the mahouts playing with the baby elephants.”
With the World Wildlife Fund estimating there are only 2-3,000 wild elephants remaining in Thailand, the project allows participants to learn about the role of the animal and take steps to resolve the problem of human- elephant competition for land.
Some of the work includes a combination of exercising, washing and feeding the elephants, garden maintenance and working directly with the people of the centre.