Volunteer Anna from Scotland is inspired by Project Orange Elephant

"When I found the SLWCS I was really excited to know I would be genuinely contributing to a sustainable conservation effort that will help secure a fu

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"When I found the SLWCS I was really excited to know I would be genuinely contributing to a sustainable conservation effort that will help secure a future for the elephant population.” Anna Fredlander, Scotland

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Anna with newly bagged grafted orange plants

Anna Fredlander is from Edinburgh, Scotland and she is volunteering with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society for 4 weeks. In her own words, Anna has always being fascinated by elephants, watching documentaries about them and bringing petitions to school to try and help the movement to save them from the threats they face.

“I have always dreamed of volunteering, to physically help with the conservation efforts, and I have previously looked into doing this at “elephant sanctuaries” but encountered struggles with the ethical values at some of these places. When I found the SLWCS I was really excited to know I would be genuinely contributing to a sustainable conservation effort that will help secure a future for the elephant population.”

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Chandima explaining to the volunteers about POE

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Working on Project Orange Elephant

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Anna Fredlander
Edinburgh, Scotland
August 2019

During my time at SLWCS my favourite morning activity has definitely been Project Orange Elephant. I had read about the project before coming to volunteer here in Sri Lanka, and had hoped I would have the opportunity to get involved, so I was really excited when I found we would be planting orange trees on my first day! I have really enjoyed doing the other activities, which are centred around collecting data on the animal populations in the area, and clearing the area for the butterfly garden at the Field House, but Project Orange Elephant is particularly special for me as I feel like I am directly contributing to creating a solution to the human-elephant conflict that exists in the area.

This issue was the main thing that drew me to SLWCS as an organisation, as helping people to live happily alongside the elephants is what will ensure their safety. As long as elephants pose a threat to people’s livelihood, neither elephants or people are safe from conflict. Project Orange Elephant completely encompasses the innovative and respectful way in which SLWCS is trying to solve this problem.

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Mixing soil for the orange plants

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The POE Crew

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Weeding the Orange plants

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Chathuranga at one of the POE farms with a group of visitors

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The project involves giving orange trees to farmers who are not protected from elephants by the electric fence that currently surrounds many of the farms. We plant the trees around the crop fields, as elephants do not like the smell of citrus, so the orange trees act as a biological fence, their smell overpowering that of the crops within and deterring the elephants. It was really interesting going to a farm to plant the trees and take care of them, as it has given me a direct insight into the lives of the farmers who share this land with the elephants.

It is fulfilling to feel that we are protecting the farmers and their livelihood from the elephants, while giving them another source of income, and all without posing any threat to the elephants or placing any man-made structure into the environment. It is amazing to be part of this project, to watch it take shape and imagine it becoming the norm as it starts to take effect.

It completely symbolises the type of solution we should be striving to create in all areas of environmental conflict: a solution that educates people about the issue and allows them to benefit from the solution, so that they are happy to protect our environment and the animals that share it with us, rather than feeling threatened by it.

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Creating a new source of primary income for farmers

Big, rumbling thanks to our Corporate Partners for their kind support and to everyone who has donated and supported our wildlife conservation efforts!
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Photo Credits:

Chathuranga Dharmarathne/SLWCS
Alicia Chadwick/SLWCS

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