Conservation Volunteers out in field

Wild Elephant Conservation in Sri Lanka

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One-hundred years ago, more than 20,000 wild Asian elephants inhabited Sri Lanka. Today, the population numbers about 5,000. Our Wild Elephant Conservation project offers volunteers a rare opportunity to work alongside local conservationists, educators, community partners and local villagers deep within the heart of Central Sri Lanka. This impactful conservation project is with wild elephants in their natural habitat. It is a purely research based project involving elephant tracking, monitoring, observations, and education to the local communities, running campaigns and awareness programs.

Living in a field house right outside Wasgamuwa National park will be an experience of a lifetime. Wasgamuwa is one of most ecologically diverse areas of Sri Lanka where Wild Elephants can be seen in large herds. This conservation program is an award winning animal conservation program conducted by the Sri Lankan Wildlife Conservation Society. The team has researchers and scientists who are in the forefront of Asian Elephant Conservation work.

The mission of our Wild Elephant Conservation Program is to enable communities to balance ecosystem protection and economic development for sustainable conservation. The focus is on helping people, elephants and other wildlife co-exist peacefully. We work with the local community to mitigate human-elephant conflict and provide sustainable, alternative livelihoods for farmers in rural Sri Lanka. Revenues generated through fees paid by our volunteers on this project are critical to support conservation research and community work.

Whether you're travelling alone or with a group, for a week or for several months we would love for you to join and experience this top notch conservation project. You'll be immersed in the local culture and ecology in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, home to wild Asian elephants, sloth bears, leopards and many other endangered wildlife in one of the most biodiverse areas in Sri Lanka. You'll work hand-in-hand with experts and volunteers from all around the globe to carry out essential conservation work required in Asia.

Wildlife volunteering Program Gallery


What is involved


This award winning wild elephant conservation volunteer program is truly an experience of a lifetime. You'll stay at our Pussellayaya Field House, just a short distance from Wasgamuwa National Park and work hand-in-hand with our local staff and volunteers from all around the globe to carry out essential conservation work, including: 

  • Gathering information on elephants and other wildlife and tropical ecosystems

  • Collecting essential environmental and socio-economic data to help develop community-based conservation programs

  • Participating in discussions with local villagers to help identify practical solutions to human-elephant conflicts

  • Observing, assessing and documenting human-elephant conflicts

  • Teaching environmental education to local school children

  • Gathering information on Sri Lanka's big and small carnivores

You will get the chance to take part in animal identification and tracking through game drives as well as many other amazing activities. Not only will you learn an incredible amount about wildlife conservation in one of Sri Lanka’s most popular national parks, but you will get hands on work experience with real conservationists. Everyday you will be working for a minimum of 5 hours. In the evenings most volunteers relax in the volunteer house. There is always someone in the house so you are never alone!

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Some details


2022 2022 2022 2022 2023 2023
January April July October January April
9, 16, 23, 30 17,24 3, 10, 17, 24  16, 23 8, 15, 22, 29 9, 23
February May August November February May
6, 13, 20, 27 8, 22,29 7, 14, 21, 28 6, 23, 20, 27  5, 12, 19, 26 7, 14, 21, 28
March June September December March June
6, 13, 20 5, 12, 19, 26 4, 11, 18, 25  4, 11, 18 5 , 12, 19, 26 4, 11, 18, 25

What your first week looks like


Arrival day

Wild Elephant Project Volunteers in the field house

Volunteers arriving on Sunday have the option to go directly to the project site in Wasgamuwa or stay overnight in Colombo and get a pick up the next day on Monday by our field staff who will transport you to Wasgamuwa. We advise volunteers to take a Uber directly from the airport to our project site to minimize volunteers frequenting crowded public places with the risk of exposure to COVID-19. Those staying overnight in Colombo must ensure the hotel is in the city Zone 1,2,3,or 4.



Weekdays

Setting up sand traps Wild Elephant Conservation Project
Your project coordinator will be giving you appropriate training on arrival. You will be going for project field work daily with a group and a staff member. Expect volunteering to be for 5 hours a day split between morning and afternoon shifts.  All your meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) will be the accommodation and prepared with locally available ingredients. This is usually rice and curry. Western meals are not provided. In the evenings most volunteers spend time relaxing at the accommodation reading, playing board games or chatting with one another.

Weekend

Stick fishermen Mirissa Beach Sri Lanka
Weekend traveling during the placement is not allowed to ensure a safe and healthy COVID-19 free environment in the Field House. Volunteers who want to travel around Sri Lanka should plan to do so after they complete their placement. Our ground staff will help you to plan your itinerary. We do recommend keeping a few days extra after your project is over to explore Sri Lanka.

Excursions around Sri Lanka


Arugam Bay

Surfing in Sri Lanka
With some world class beaches and waves, Sri Lanka is undoubtedly a top surfing destination!

Sigiriya

Sigiriya Rock
Visit the Sigiriya Rock Fortress, a UNESCO Heritage Site in the Central Province.

Iconic Train Rides

Train Ride Ella to Hatton
Ranked in the top 10 train rides in the world- the journey from Ella to Hatton is a must do!

Galle Fort

Galle Fort
Visit the famous Galle Fort in Southern Sri Lanka where you can enjoy local shopping and restaurants.

Testimonial Videos


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