“After ten weeks of volunteering with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my experience.” Shae Erlandson, U.S.A
This is my second time at the project and, if anything, it was an even better experience than the last. I came here in July 2017 for the first time. It was during the dry season. Where there was supposed to be a lake, there was only a stream. This time, the lake in front of the Fieldhouse was full and I even got the chance to swim in it after being in the sun for the morning activity. Since last year, some of the staff had changed, but that is in no way a bad thing. In fact, I think I laughed even more than last time.
I also always felt safe when we were out in the field. We had a couple of close encounters with elephants during our morning activities and, whether they were close or far away, the field assistants remained calm and gave us clear indications of what we had to do. It was usually more exciting than frightening.
My favourite morning activity has to be pugmark analysis, where we usually walk through rivers and streams in search of paw prints on the banks, specifically those of fishing cats and jungle cats. It is a very refreshing activity when the temperature outside is high, which is often the case during these times. We always follow one of the field assistants, as they know the way, and it’s very funny when they walk through the river and suddenly disappear underwater because it’s too deep.
One thing is certain, I will be coming back yet again. These people have become a family in my eyes. The Fieldhouse feels like a second home. It’s a different way of life, certainly, being mostly in the middle of nowhere, away from my family, surrounded by mountains and lakes. It makes a big change from the cities back home in Switzerland. I love the rhythm of life here, as a volunteer, with a sometimes demanding morning activity and an afternoon of elephant observations (although we don’t always see elephants). The people are so friendly and the scenery is simply beautiful. I leave this place with difficulty, but I now have more wonderful memories and I can’t wait to come back and make even more.
For my first travel out of my country, I was willing to use my vacation for something useful and as an opportunity to make a difference. My friend advised me to check out this website (working abroad), its where I found project elephant conservation in Sir Lanka.
When I arrived, I was stunned by the natural beauty and the kindness of locals, the staff were very nice and comforting, which helped me not to feel like a stranger. It was the first time I have seen an elephant, which was amazing and the work towards their help was very satisfying. The food was amazing and the simplicity of the house in the middle of the nature was like a getaway from the city. I had a wonderful experience here and earned some useful information regarding elephants and some other animals.
Hoping for the program to continue successfully and making a difference.
I don’t think there are any words that can articulate or justify my experience here with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society. I am so taken and overwhelmed by the staff who dedicate their careers and everyday lives to the elephants & people of Sri Lanka.
Amazing staff and great social experience. Love that focus is on wild elephants and that we are respecting their living.
Keng Tharn Hong & Marek Gorniak
We stayed as part of the 1 week program in SLWCS. It was a good experience as we got to learn a lot about conservation work on wildlife. It was also a good way to get to know the friendly locals. As well as immerse ourselves in the breath-taking beauty of Sri Lanka’s nature.
- All staff very friendly and knowledgeable and happy to share that knowledge
- Everyone mucks in together which makes all the tasks more enjoyable.
Best bits for me were:
- Elephant observations – even when the elephants are hiding the scenery is very relaxing
- Meeting villagers when checking the bee fence. Very interesting to hear their experiences of elephants which often isn’t positive.
- Building sand traps – I just like making things!
- Trip to National Park – stunning scenery and the chance to see wild elephants close up. I did this on my final day which was a perfect finish to a really enjoyable experience.
After 10 weeks of helping out at SLWCS, I couldn’t be more satisfied with my experience. It was intimidating to leave my family and the only culture I’ve ever known for such a long time, but my fears were melted away as soon as I arrived. I was engulfed by the kindness and joy from all of the volunteers and workers, and I got lost in the work they are doing here.
I think the most amazing thing about SLWCS is that it both actively tries to make a difference in the world, while at the same time it inspires others to do so as well. The means at which they work to minimize human-elephant conflicts are creative and effective, and the way that they educate the public about the importance of what they are doing is influential and essential in actually being able to help resolve the conflicts.
It was fulfilling to be here because I got to experience a completely different way of living which made me have individual growth, and also because I was also taking part of doing something beneficial on a larger scale. Being here made me feel that change is possible, even if it is little by little, and all that you need is a small group of dedicated people who want to improve the world.
May you have a wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!
Big, rumbling thanks to our Corporate Partners for their kind support and to everyone who has donated and supported our wildlife conservation efforts!
Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society