April turned out to be a challenging month for us and we truly appreciate the support we got from our volunteers

 

“I was here whilst the attack in Sri Lanka happened and all the staff were really calm and supportive during such a difficult  time. I would recommend this project to anyone who is interested in conservation and definitely hope to come back in the future.” Antonia Loizou, United Kingdom

 
Natasha Geer
United KingdomI have spent an amazing three weeks with SLWCS and have learned so much about the human elephant conflict in Sri Lanka and about their conservation work to protect the wide variety of wildlife that is present here. Some of the activities during my time here have involved helping to maintain orange trees at local houses for Project Orange Elephant, developing a butterfly garden to encourage more butterfly species, checking  electric fences and elephant dung analysis as well as spending time observing elephants from the tree huts in the afternoons.All the staff are very welcoming and helpful with anything you need and their passion and knowledge for conservation is incredible, all along with smiles and lots of laughter.Despite the attacks that happened in Sri Lanka during my stay, I have always felt safe and welcome here thanks to the staff at the project and I would really recommend this project to anyone who is interested in conservation and seeing this beautiful country and its wildlife.
 
Kimberley Davies
United KingdomI’ve felt very much part of the project here and the plight to improve human-elephant conflict through various activities. I think my favourite was working at the farm following a crop raid. There you can see a direct link and benefit to the farmer, with us clearing around the orange trees to allow them to grow and flourish. Fab!I was here during the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks, having been stuck in Colombo on Easter Sunday. The guys have worked around the clock making us feel safe and organising everything. Having an armed police guard with us at all times is unnerving but also very reassuring. We even managed a smile from them at the National Park when surrounded by elephants.All in all my experience here has been a great one and I would love to come back again some day. Thank you to everyone here, all the staff, the chef, the driver, and of course our favourite Siriya!

Working on the Butterfly Sanctuary

Isabelle Daly
IrelandI am so sad to be leaving SLWCS early due to recent events, I had planned to stay a month and unfortunately have to leave after just a week but, what a week! From the outset you are totally immersed in the conservation work they do here, from dung analysis to field observations I have had such a fantastic time and genuinely feel like I contributed to the work here. Never did I feel this more than witnessing elephants in their natural habitats after a hard days work weeding orange groves, to see how your work impacts the community here is really special.The team here are so welcoming and have been with all of us every step of the way, helping us and guiding us through such a stressful time for everyone. I have not felt unsafe once while with the team, and even managed to have a genuine laugh through it all.The team here will make you feel like you’re apart of one big family, and rest assured Ill be seeing them again! (Hopefully for longer) Thank you for taking such good care of us.
Jayne Staines
United KingdomSo having spent 2.5 weeks in beautiful Sri Lanka I arrived for my week’s volunteering with the great elephant project or SLWCS as they are known locally. What an amazing time I have had, the staff are professional, caring and extremely knowledgeable – so far we have performed an array of tasks to help with the human elephant conflict in Sri Lanka – from weeding a local’s garden of the citrus trees that will stop bull elephants from raiding her food stores and crops, to dung analysis – which sounds awful – but is interesting to see the diet, age, gender and general health of the elephant analysed, pug – or cat – paw analysis in the hunt for the fishing and jungle cats of Sri Lanka not to mention the hundreds of exotic and beautiful birds, plants and animals that inhabit this jewel in the Asian crown…. And that is before we even start on the majestic beasts that inhabit this island the Asian elephant – Elephas maximus maximus – their familiar patterns of behaviour, their intense loyalty and love for their family groups and their level of intelligence and “fun” as they play in the water sources, chat to each other while foraging for food and the way they look at you with years of knowledge and compassion as they smell you with their amazing trunks and look at you with the wisdom and compassion that summarizes this amazing place.I can’t but heartily recommend Sri Lanka – the political difficulties that we have experienced in the time we are here, will hopefully not put future volunteers off visiting this beautiful island, welcoming people and amazing sanctuary and heaven for such a wide array of beautiful species.
 

Black-headed Ibis
Marin Krijthe
The NetherlandsI’ve spent a little over a week here and it’s been such a special experience, all thanks to the local SLWCS team. They took such good care of us and made sure we had the best time. Although it’s hard work, it’s also very rewarding and together with the team and other volunteers we enjoyed ourselves every single day. The elephant watching especially makes for an adventure to never forget. I would recommend this programme for sure!
 
Millicent Dow
United KingdomI have only spent one week here but the staff have been amazing! They are very friendly and made me feel right at home; it has been lovely getting to know everyone. It has been very interesting learning about human-elephant conflict and the solutions that have been produced; the bees and orange trees. Even though the work is hard its enjoyable and you feel that you have accomplished something as a team when you finish! The end of day elephant watching in the Tree Huts was a new experience for me and one I rate highly. This is an excellent programme with incredible people!
Jackson Ball
AustraliaI spent two weeks at the program and I have had a great time. All of the staff are helpful, friendly and make the work we do very fun. They are also happy to take time out of their day to explain any questions you have relating to animal conservation or elephant behaviour. There are quiet times during the day, when it is too hot to work – I would recommend bringing some books or other activities to do during these times. I really enjoyed the trip to the nearby national park – and from what I have heard from other travellers and my own experiences it is really one of the best in Sri Lanka, especially for Elephant spotting, and best of all it is not crowded with tourists.I would recommend this program, it is certainly eye opening to see the impact of human-elephant conflict in remote communities, and how they are being managed, as well as gaining an insight into rural Sri Lankan culture and belief systems.
Alexandre Faury
FranceI spent two weeks at the program, which have been well organized despite extreme temperatures . I discovered a new species off elephants that I didn’t know, it was a surprise to discover that only 5% of them have tusks. They are so numerous that we can understand the human elephant conflict, and the planting of orange trees around neighbors houses. All the staff are very welcoming and helpful with anything you need. The visit to the national park is also fantastic.
Kristin Zimmermann
GermanyI spent four weeks here at the program and it was really amazing. I learned so many new things like how to plant orange trees, how to monitor fences, how to read elephant prints and their poo and last but not leas everything about elephant behaviour. In the afternoon we visited tree houses and looked for elephants there, sometimes we even saw a huge group of elephants or little baby ones. We spent evenings watching movies about the human elephant conflict, we learned where to hide camera traps and I had an amazing evening with other volunteers just by playing cards or different games together.All in all I would definitely recommend this volunteer project because you gain a very good overview about the human elephant conflict and the behaviour of elephants. Furthermore, everybody here us really nice and you always get support from the staff.

 

 

Alison Toosdel 
BelgiumI m happy to participated to the programs for help conflict between human and elephant. Thanks a lot to accept me for this adventure.
 
Aggie Parish 
Arizona, USAI have spent two weeks at the elephant conservation project and it has been wonderful; an experience I will forever cherish. Working with the people of Sri Lanka was an eye-opening experience. They work so hard for what they have, and it has truly given me a greater appreciation for what I have in my home-country. I wish my husband and children could have shared in my experiences, to gain that same appreciation.The staff at the field house have been kind and generous, and always willing to help and answer questions. I am so grateful to the founder of this organization, to have provided not only the experience for me, but for all of the assistance they provide for the villagers and elephants alike.
Emily Falle
United KingdomI have volunteered with this amazing project over the last 3 weeks and I have loved every part of the experience. It has definitely been eye opening seeing the detrimental effects of the human elephant conflict and the impact it has on not only the elephants, but the lives of the locals through home and crop destruction. This has made volunteering here even more special than I could have imagined as you really feel you are helping both the elephants and the locals.I have loved the different range of morning activities although they are definitely hard work in the hot sun! The ones which stood out for me was helping rebuild a house that had been destroyed by elephants and had been like this for over a year! Seeing the joy on the couples face when their home was fixed was a great feeling. Also when interviewing farmers for surveys about the human elephant conflict what I noticed was that everyone of them were so grateful for the work the SLWCS does in the local community showing me that this project really is making a difference.The Field House is great and in such a beautiful location, the staff are so friendly and fun and quick to share with you their wide breadth of knowledge on the surrounding wildlife and conservation and the food is delicious also! I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone.
Katarina Adamovic
GermanyThe whole crew around the SLWCS field house is super friendly and supportive. Learning about the animals and doing different activities every day made my stay here really memorable.Everything has exceeded my expectations by far, regardless if it’s just sitting in tree huts and enjoying the view or working my ass off to make progress in the butterfly garden.Its great to see that this project is working and helping with the human/elephant conflict and that the work of every volunteer helps to support ongoing research into behaviour of the elephants.

I will definitely come back one day to see how far this wonderful organization has come.

 
Mario Zehetner
AustriaTo saving Elephants by helping people is a great idea! I learned different things about the human animal conflict and counter measurements. I really like to support projects like this by doing some meaningful work. On the other hand there is enough time for relaxing and enjoying the awesome environment as well.The field house is a wonderful place it is simple but it has everything that is needed, including fans. The food is amazing and most of it is vegetarian and vegan. The crew here is very kind so it is very easy to feel welcome here.

 

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