Elephant Conservation

Encounter the beautiful Asian elephant on this elephant conservation program deep within the heart of the Sri Lankan jungle.

About the Project

This project, which is based in the breathtaking surroundings of the Sri Lankan jungle, offers a hands-on experience, carrying out vital, ecological research on the region’s elephants. The aim of this is to assess and reduce human - elephant conflicts, which have become very strained in recent years. Volunteers assist in the implementation of sustainable land-use initiatives using GPS, remote sensing and GIS techniques to develop conservation strategies which will help to protect elephants, leopards,  and other wildlife in the Central and North Central Provinces of Sri Lanka.

Living in harmony with nature is deeply embedded in the cultural consciousness of the indigenous people of Sri Lanka. This is primarily due to the Buddhist fabric of the country, a religion and way of life that advocates Ahimsa (non-violence). This is a value which this project aims to cultivate and nurture, and to use in the rebuilding of human – elephant relationships.
The research conducted during this project is carried out to meet rigorous scientific inquiry and is based on adaptive management strategies. The project offers volunteers a unique opportunity to have an active role in the cultural milieu that makes Sri Lanka such an incredible destination. Through this programme, volunteers have the chance to experience a true, natural wilderness and contribute to field research and environmental protection in a meaningful way. The support and manpower from volunteer involvement is essential in safeguarding the wilderness, and sustaining cultural practices that are thousands of years old.

First Day

You will be collected from your hotel in Colombo by the project’s site facilitators who will take you to the Fort Railway Station. You will be collected by 6 am on the day your program starts to catch the train at 7 am. After the train journey you will arrive at the cultural capital of Kandy. You will have an hour or two to visit Kandy before taking a bus directly to the field site. After you have settled in your orientation will begin and you will get to know your fellow volunteers!

Regular Days

During these days your group will be split into 2 teams and you will each engage in a wide variety of different wildlife and elephant conservation tasks in Wasgamuwa National Park. You will also get to visit local villages to observe human-elephant conflict resolution projects. There will also be time off when you can relax or visit cultural sites nearby (such as Sigiriya and the Temple of the Tooth).

Last Day

Today will be your final day and after saying goodbye to the project staff and the friends you have made here you will be transferred back to Colombo for your returning flight or to commence your independent travel plans.

Prior to Arrival

You will need a visa to enter Sri Lanka. Short stay visas of thirty days can be obtained online via the Electronic Travel Authority. These can be extended for up to three months once in Sri Lanka from the Department of Immigration & Emigration. However, it is advisable to contact the Sri Lankan High Commission in your country of origin at least one month before travel. Please note that your passport must be valid for at least six months before travel.

Suitable for

Couples
Singles
Groups

Typical day

The following is a summary of some of the activities that you will be getting involved in whilst volunteering with elephants in Wasgamuwa. Please keep in mind however that this is only a rough guideline, and volunteer activities are dependent on the needs of the project:

  • Human-Elephant Conflict Observations
  • Trail Transects
  • Electric Fence Monitoring
  • Tank Monitoring
  • Elephant Identification
  • Sustainable Land use and Livelihood Project Monitoring
  • Wildlife Observation and Data Logging 
  • Trekking

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
18 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Other Skills
No specific skills or experience are required, just commitment to the project and its aims. You must be prepared to work alongside other members of the team, and to bring an upbeat, positive attitude to the endeavour as a whole.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in Sri Lanka? Volunteer World directly connects you with The Great Projects

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Free-time activities

The weekends are generally free, so you might want to visit the next town over or chill on a beach. You can of course also get active and climb, hike or swim.

Water Sports
Swimming
Climbing
Hiking

Services

What's included?
A contribution to the project - Transfers between Colombo and the project site - Full orientation and support from the project managers - Accommodation and all meals
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Airport Pickup

As you will need to leave for the project at 7am from Colombo's Fort Railway Station, you will need to arrive the day before your project start date and check into a hotel nearby. A project facilitator will then collect you in the morning from your hotel of choice at 6am and take you to the train station. You will then travel by train to the cultural capital of Kandy. You will have an hour to have a look around and then will take a bus directly to the field site.

Accommodation

Whilst on the project you will stay in the volunteer field house, unless there is a group of fourteen participants or more (when the Field Camp will also be used).

The house is very spacious with lots of room and has a high roof to catch the cooling breezes from the lake. You really feel like you are in the wilderness! The design of the house is perfect for the climate and terrain it is situated in and it helps to keep the house relatively cool during the hot days and nights and dry during the rainy season.

The house has two modern bathrooms with flush toilets, showers and sinks. However, there is only cold water (though this isn’t much of an issue as the water pipes will have been warmed in the sun most of the day). There are five bedrooms sectioned off for privacy and they are situated around the two communal social areas of the house.

The rooms are very basic and rustic but have comfortable beds. Electric fans, mosquito nets, pillows and clean bedsheets are provided, but please remember to bring your own towel.

Dorm Room Camping
Food & Beverages

Three fresh meals per day are prepared for you at the volunteer house. Food is prepared in the local style, with milder spices if preferred. Most meals will be vegetarian, with egg, fish and soy for protein.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
Costs
1 week (min. stay)
$937
2 weeks
$1161
3 weeks
$1385
4 weeks
$1609
5 weeks
$1833
6 weeks
$2058
10 weeks (max. stay)
$2954

You can volunteer at the project site in Wasgamuwa National Park/Sri Lanka between 1 weeks and 10 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Great Projects will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
$616/week
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with The Great Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Sri Lanka

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Sri Lanka. Please check the visa regulations for Sri Lanka.
Budgeting
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Sri Lanka.

What's next?

Airport
The nearest airport is Bandaranaike International (CMB) in Colombo. We assist you to find cheap flights to Sri Lanka.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Sri Lanka provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Sri Lanka you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Sri Lanka.
Packing List
Packing our bags is important to prepare your trip, but often turns into a last minute horror. Make sure you don't forget the essentials by creating a personalised packing list for your volunteer program in Sri Lanka upfront.
Wasgamuwa , Wasgamuwa National Park, Sri Lanka