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Wild Elephant Conservation - Sri Lanka

Get up close to wild elephant herds and assist with conservation efforts with the locals. 

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What this project involves:

This project is working in alliance with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Society and offers volunteers a rare opportunity to work alongside local conservationists, educators, community partners and local villagers, deep within the heart of beautiful Sri Lanka. 

This is a true conservation project where wild elephants are not touched at all as they are all in their natural habitat and it is a genuine research based project involving elephant tracking, monitoring, observations, and education to the local communities, as well as running education campaigns and awareness programs.

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What's the issue?

It is thought that wild animals may catch diseases by coming into contact with domestic cattle, which are released to park's grasslands by the villagers. Wild animals particularly elephants have to compete with these cattle which have occupied the grazing lands and water pools. The cattle also damage the park's electric fence. 

Elephants damage the properties of the villagers unintentionally, and fatal attacks have been reported from the park. Environmentalists have raised concern over proposed resettlement of displaced people from the construction of Moragahakanda reservoir. This has led to the escalation of the elephant-human clash. 

There is an urgent need for strategic action designed to mitigate human-elephant conflicts to save the endangered wild elephants of Sri Lanka and enhance the welfare of captive elephants. 

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What volunteers will do:

Volunteers are picked up and taken to a guesthouse on arrival day. All volunteers will be met by our local team and given time to meet and greet as well as relax and enjoy traditional meals. 

The next day after a short briefing the volunteers will be transported to Polonnaruwa near the Wasgamuwa National Park where they will be met by the local conservation team. It will take approximately 4-5 hours by car to reach the project site (230km by car). 

On arrival the team will be giving training and orientation once more related to the actual project work and information on the area Depending on the time of arrival the group will be going out into field for elephant observation. 

Daily work hours will depend on activities but it will be from early mornings till early evenings (with breakfast & lunch served in between and dinner served at night). 

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Every day staff and volunteers:

  • Gather information on elephants and other wildlife and tropical ecosystems.
  • Collect essential environmental and soci-economic data to help develop community-based conservation programs.
  • Participate in discussions with local villagers to help identify practical solutions to human- elephant conflicts.
  • Observe, assess and document human-elephant conflicts. Teach environmental education to local school children.
  • Build and mend fencing to protect agricultural crops and homes from damage by wild elephants.

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What's not included

All other projects in Sri Lanka are near Galle - but the elephants are remote and so these inclusions below are not included with the elephants because of location

  • One yoga class per week
  • Monthly bike tour around Galle Paddy fields
  • Monthly local cooking class

Flights, Insurance and any spending money are also not included in the cost. We can help you sort these out though for no extra cost. 

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