Wildlife Alliance cares for and rehabilitates animals rescued from the illegal wildlife trade at Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center (PTWRC) in Cambodia. We have rescued elephants and many other animals in different situations. Elephant Keeper for a Day is an exciting opportunity for you to get your hands dirty and learn more about our four gentle pachyderms at Phnom Tamao. Learn about Chhouk our youngest elephant and how he came to lose his foot requiring a prosthetic, meet two of our rescued wild elephants and how the human/animal conflict in Cambodia lead them to our center and finish the day with a walk in the forests with Lucky.

Tours Currently Postponed

Due to the ongoing community outbreak that started on the 20th February 2021, we have decided, in discussions with the Keepers and The Forestry Administration who run the centre, to postpone tours at least until the interprovincial travel restrictions are lifted. This is for the safety of the keepers, animals and guests. We ask you for your understanding during this uncertain time and hope that it is safe to show you around soon!
Email us on wildlifetourspt@wildlifealliance.org if you have any questions or if you would like us to contact you when the tours reopen.

Here’s what you’ll get up to on this unforgettable day with our gentle giants!

Meet us at Phnom Penh Head Office (House. 86, St. 123, Sangkat. Toul Tom Poung1, Khan. Chamcar Mon), at 7:30 AM
Along the way we stop at a market to pick up some fruity treats for the elephants

In the morning

  • Get stuck-in helping the keepers
    • Cleaning out the elephant beds and enclosures
    • Preparing the huge amounts of elephant food and scatter feeds.
    • Have the opportunity to take home a unique souvenir! If Lucky, one of our female elephants, likes you, she will paint a t-shirt for you!
  • Create some enrichment (hide food inside enclosures, barrels, car tires, etc) for our elephants and some of our other residents at the center, such as monkeys, gibbons, and others
  • Enjoy a delicious Cambodian-style lunch, with a chance of a fresh coconut juice, and relax in a hammock under a palm leaf roof

In the afternoon

  • Take a walk in the 6,000 acre regenerating forest with our friendly female elephant, Lucky
  • Observe the reward-based training sessions, known as positive reinforcement training, with Chhouk. He is Cambodia’s only elephant with a prosthesis and we use the training to keep an eye on his health and change his shoe.

Throughout the day our guide will tell you all about the stories of all four of our elephants and the plight of elephants in Cambodia. Their extensive knowledge is at your disposal so make sure you take advantage!

Return back to our Head Office in Phnom Penh between 4.30-5.30pm

* All money raised goes directly towards the care of our elephants and other rescued wild animals. ($75 per person)

Note: The tour is only available for guests 16+ years. Please wear worn or inexpensive clothing as you will be outside working with the elephants in some hot & dusty conditions.

What’s Included

  • Air-conditioned transportation (pick-up and drop-off in Phnom Penh)
  • Entrance fee into Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center
  • English-speaking tour guide
  • Chilled, bottled water
  • Delicious Cambodian-style lunch (dietary needs can be accommodated)

Q: If I do not have time to participate in the full tour, can I do a half- day tour?

A: Yes, we can arrange a half-day highlights tour if your schedule does not permit a full day! This works best if you can join in the morning and have until 12PM or 1PM at the center. This will ensure you experience our highlight activities before taking onward transport to your next destination! As the tour operates as a much needed fundraiser- providing the largest source of funds for our animals- we cannot offer discounts for half-day tours. Onward transportation is also at the guest’s expense, however we can help organize private taxis if needed!

Q: Why t-shirt painting

A. Lucky used to paint t-shirts when the tour first started back in 2014. When she contracted EEHV, a life-threatening elephant herpes virus, we paused the elephant painting experience to allow Lucky to fully recover. We have recently reintroduced the t-shirt painting with Lucky as a form of enrichment to her day. All of Lucky’s training is and always has been conducted using positive reinforcement and this applies to the painting also. This means that, primarily, it is completely up to her if she doesn’t want to paint and secondarily, if she does paint then many yummy fruit treats are given as a reward. The activity only lasts around 20 minutes or so and she only does it when there are guests on the Behind the Scenes or Elephant Keeper for a day tours. We find that Lucky really enjoys the t-shirt painting and meeting the guests and is an exciting activity for her and the guests to enjoy together!

Q: Can I take my own transport and meet the tour at the center?

A: We prefer if guests join our tour van as the ride down gives our guides a chance to explain a little about Wildlife Alliance’s work and their own interests in conservation, as well as an opportunity to get to know the guests! We also stop at a local market to pick-up fruit for the animals before arriving at the center. As we drive between sections throughout the day, our guides also share information about the park!  As morning traffic can sometimes be unpredictable, this can also result in guests arriving with their own transport having to wait for us.

Q: Do I have to join the ‘behind-the-scenes’ tour to visit the center?

A: No! There are other tours operating at the center and guests are welcome to visit independently. However, please note that these other options do not give access into our private areas to interact with our ambassador animals!

Q: How do I visit the center independently?

A: We recommend hiring a private car rather than a tuk-tuk as the drive to the center can be quite hot and dusty. A private car can cost 40-50 USD for the full day. Ticket entry costs 5USD per adult, and 2.5 USD per child. The car can enter the center to drive between sections, as enclosures are spread within 6000 acres of regenerated forest! At the ticket gate there are maps available to help you navigate the center, and you can also request a government-appointed English-speaking guide if there is one available for a donation of 10 USD being the norm. They can share stories of the animals and ensure you see the parks highlights as there is limited signage at the center. The center is open from 9AM-5PM and we recommend visiting in the morning as the animals are more active before the heat of the day sets in!

Email:                   wildlifetourspt@wildlifealliance.org
Phone (KH):        095-970-175

Contact Wildlife – Phnom Tamao

    If you have any questions, please email us at wildlifetours@wildlifealliance.org or call 095-970-175 (or internationally, 00-855-95-970-175). If you don’t receive a prompt response by email, please be sure to call us.

    $150 per person