Life at Bitrise: Volunteering at the Kedah Elephant Sanctuary

At Bitrise, we encourage our employees to take time to volunteer, and Bitrise employees get 2 days off every year for volunteer work. In this post, Monica Lay — Head of People Experience for GTM — talks about her recent day spent volunteering.

At Bitrise, we get 2 days off every year for volunteer work — encouraging people to spend time giving back to good causes and communities. Bitrise recognizes that the best employees truly embody the company values. So, during my recent time in Malaysia, I spent a day volunteering.

The Kedah Elephant Sanctuary in Kuala Lumpur is one of the most popular destinations for tourists who want to experience the beauty of elephants up close. And recently, I had the pleasure of volunteering at this wonderful sanctuary with my family. Our guide for the day was Zali, who had worked at the sanctuary for more than 30 years! 

Zali greeted us with a warm smile and started explaining the history and mission of the sanctuary. We learned that the Kedah Elephant Sanctuary was established to provide a safe and natural environment for elephants who have been rescued from various parts of Malaysia. The sanctuary also serves as a research and education center, aimed at educating visitors about the importance of elephant conservation. 

As soon as we arrived at the sanctuary, we were given a brief on the do's and don'ts when interacting with the elephants. Zali then introduced us to the four elephants we would be working with for the day. All of them were around six years old and had been rescued by the sanctuary. It was amazing to see how the sanctuary takes care of the elephants making sure they are happy and healthy.

We started our day by chopping up watermelons and sugar canes for the elephants' breakfast using a machete! We then got to feed the elephants by hand, which was an experience like no other. Feeling their trunks wrap around my hand as they took the food was truly unforgettable.

After feeding them, we were tasked with washing them. The elephants enjoyed the cool water as we sprayed them down whilst they rolled around in delight. We then had to scoop up their poop, which was an important task to ensure the elephants had a clean environment to live in.

One of the elephants we worked with, Ellie, had a prosthetic leg after catching it in a trap. It was amazing to see how well she had adapted to it and how she was still able to move around with ease. Zali had a special bond with Ellie, and she would play hide and seek with him. It was heartwarming to see the special relationship that Zali had built with the elephants.

We also learned that the elephants at the sanctuary were rescued from various situations, including when they wandered into villages and caused damage, such as knocking over trees and damaging property. The team at the sanctuary is dedicated to rescuing these elephants and providing them with a safe and loving environment.

Overall, our day at the Kedah Elephant Sanctuary was an unforgettable experience. It was amazing to interact with the elephants up close and to learn about the incredible work being done by the sanctuary. If you're ever in Kuala Lumpur, be sure to add the Kedah Elephant Sanctuary to your itinerary — you won't regret it.

If you want to work with Monica and the team at Bitrise, why not check out our current job openings?

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