Volunteer in Sri Lanka with Elephants - Update

Volunteer in Sri Lanka with Elephants - Update

Posted by Sam Hopkins on 20th Jun 2014

The Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society's volunteer program is a doorway not only to experience the wilds of Sri Lanka, but also to learn about the challenges of saving wildlife in a rapidly changing world and to participate in ongoing research and conservation efforts. It also provides an opportunity to experience the warm and friendly hospitality for which Sri Lanka is well known. The following two Elephant Diary posts are from volunteers Louisa and Amy. They are volunteers from England who had an exciting and enjoyable time participating in the Saving Elephants by Helping People Project (also known as 'The Great Elephant Project').

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - Louisa

"Around 9 am we set off in the Land Rover to the Weheragalagama Tank, which is located close to the volunteer house. We set off in search for elephant dung (the aim being to find dung that was less than two weeks old). We were in luck as it looked like a rather large herd had visited the night before. By the size of the dung we could tell what sex and age the elephant was - I even spotted the dung of a baby elephant!

As the day went on we drove past the lake where some local boys were swimming and some men were fishing. To our surprise, there was a massive herd of elephants - we counted 40 plus! This was the first time I had ever experienced a herd of elephants and it was absolutely incredible. There were baby elephants too which were so cute.

It was interesting to see that even though the lake was busy, the elephants still had the courage to eat the grass out in the open. As it got darker they crept back into the trees and could no longer be seen. However we did hear them trumpeting which was something I had only heard on the television. The experience was incredibly special!"

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - Amy"Today I woke up pretty early―around 7 am – and after project facilitator Chinthaka gave us a lot of information about the aims of the project, safety in the field and the purpose of using the electric fence to keep the people in and the elephants out, we went out on a walk.

We walked along a transect looking for elephant dung and collecting information about the length of time it had been there and what the age and sex of the elephant might be. A lot of important information can be gathered from pieces of dung! It was really interesting and exciting that elephants had been in the area so recently.

In the afternoon we drove outside of the electric fence and went to the Weheragalagama Tank. Soon we spotted a single bull elephant, along with a small herd of females who had some young baby elephants with them. As this was the first time I had seen them in the wild it was really a very special moment!

More elephants came and went but were scared off for a while by a herd of wild buffalo – they're pretty intimidating animals! They did eventually make a return but it was getting a bit darker so we had to think about moving. Seeing them in the moonlight though was a really special moment. Once it got too dark to see them we drove back. On the way we saw a massive group of them in the beams of the headlights! It was a bit of a shock as they are really quite daunting up close. Luckily they just ran off. All in a day's work in this incredible place!"

Wow - it seems like both volunteers had a fantastic time! If you would like to volunteer in Sri Lanka on this amazing project, please don't hesitate to contact us via email ([email protected]), Facebook or phone (+44(0)208 885 4987). We look forward to hearing from you!


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Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

Opening hours:
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   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987