The Great Elephant Project Volunteers Reflect On Their Time in Sri Lanka!

The Great Elephant Project Volunteers Reflect On Their Time in Sri Lanka!

Posted by Leanne Sturrock on 23rd Feb 2018

We've been spending quite a lot of time lately looking back at our volunteers' experiences whilst out on the projects - whether sharing some great travel snaps over on our social media pages or keeping you up-to-date with goings-on right here on the blog, it's been great to see you all respond positively to each other's experiences! Today, we're shedding a little like on Sri Lanka - more specifically, The Great Elephant Project's very own volunteers! Take a look at these traveller testimonies, and enjoy the fun photos which go along with them!

Barbara, UK

Volunteering in Sri Lanka

'I’ve spent three weeks now at project and taken part in most of the activities on offer, from collecting elephant poo and analysing it (by sifting wet poo through three grades of sieve and then looking at what each layer contains), looking at foraging spots to see how elephants damage (mostly not!) the forest, examining sand pits for the creatures that have walked over them and resetting them, a number of bird spot data gathering at the crack of dawn and, finally, teaching English in the local school.

I’ve enjoyed all the activities and learnt a lot both about elephants and Sri Lankan birds. The highlight of my stay was definitely elephant spotting concluding with a sighting of 60 – 70 elephants including baby elephants and a fully grown splendid male in musk, at Wasgamuwa National Park. It’s a memory that will stay with me for a long long time. I’ve enjoyed meeting so many people from round the world and have been heartened by the passion for conservation of both volunteers and staff. It’s been a splendid trip!'

Blake, Australia

Volunteering with children in Sri Lanka

'After this experience, I have an even more positive outlook on a career in Ecology. I found that I really enjoyed working in the outdoor environment, and working with amazing creatures like elephants and leopards, despite the challenging aspects of the location.

The staff members were cheerful, helpful and seemed to all be really passionate about their work. I enjoyed working with them and the volunteers and it was great to work surrounded by people as enthusiastic about wildlife conservation as I am. I gained confidence in my own abilities to problem-solve and learned some great technical skills that I’m sure will be useful in a career in ecology and wildlife conservation. Before joining the project, I had an interest in following a career in this field, but now I am convinced that this is the avenue that I wish to pursue.

I was very impressed by the project's efforts to simultaneously improve the lives of the local wildlife and the community. I am both humbled and satisfied by this amazing experience and the opportunity it gave me to help elephants and humans live in harmony.'

David, UK

Travelling in Sri Lanka

'A thoroughly enjoyable five weeks giving good insight and understanding of the elephant/human conflicts in the area. As a ‘birder,’ i was also able to identify over 70 species and take part in the bird surveys of farmland and forest. I also had enjoyable times teaching basic English in the local school.

Accommodation and food were excellent for me - i do love spicy curries and dhals!

The constantly changing, wide range of nationalities and ages made for interesting conversations and interactions throughout the stay. The friendly and helpful staff made everyone feel welcome.'

Nicola, New Zealand

Tourist in Sri Lanka

'I had a fantastic time volunteering on The Great Elephant Project for 2 weeks in February 2018. The staff, volunteers, activities and amazing food all made it an adventure worth remembering! A massive highlight for me was the beautiful welcoming nature of the Sri Lankan staff, you don’t always have to speak the same language to show warmth and kindness.

The activities were interesting and diverse, I enjoyed them all for different reasons but over all I loved the fact that we got to visit the villages and really get a full understanding of the Human Elephant Conflict and how it affects others. I have learnt a lot in my short 2 weeks here, and I only have positive things to say. I hope to one day return and volunteer in the future, I will miss everyone here hugely!'

Has this post left you feeling inspired to get involved with elephant conservation in Sri Lanka? Head to the project page now!

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Ellie commented 6 years ago
Hi Jane,
Please take a look at In short, a large portion of the money volunteers pay goes towards volunteer costs including meals, accommodation and airport transfers as well the costs for projects to run including staff salaries, equipment used to volunteer and everything needed for animal care, releases and rehabilitation. The projects rely on volunteer funding to run and could not exist without it. Please call for more information.

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Jane Fennessey commented 6 years ago
I don't think I should actually pay to volunteer. I am currently volunteering with Horizon's For Homeless Children and the local hospital. No charge there...

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