October Volunteers in Action in the Field

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"My time with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society was way more than I imagined it would be. This wonderful organization nurtured a true love of nature and elephants within me. I learned so much and had so much fun at the same time. Observing the elephants in their natural habitat is an experience I will never forget!!!" Shanae Goshea, U.S.A.

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Alicia Chadwick
Volunteer Coordinator
SLWCS

Monday, September 30th 2019

Morning

Team: Petra, Jenny, Jasmine and Sonia

Sand and Camera trapping in Karu Forest. No prints in the sand trap, possibly because of the rain. Some great photos in the cameras however, including a leopard and sloth bear.

Afternoon

All Volunteers

The Field Scouts were told there were elephants in Himbiliyakada so we drove around there for a long time. Finally we spotted them up on the mountain in the rain!

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Tuesday, October 01st 2019

Morning

Team 1: Petra, Jenny, Jasmine and Sonia

Dung analysis at the old tree huts. A lot of fresh dung, only a few hours old. Very healthy aside from some discoloration.

Team 2: Lee, Charlie, Emil and Steve

Dung analysis along Karu road. Saw some dung, a few days old. A lot of footprints along the road also.

Afternoon

All Volunteers

No elephants! We heard some movement but no visual sightings.

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Wednesday, October 02nd

Morning

Team: Petra, Jenny, Jasmine and Sonia

Project Orange Elephant today consisted of helping local farmers plant their trees. Volunteers helped dig 20 holes for Siriya's orange trees. Very hot work that ended with some cold fresh juice.

Afternoon

All Volunteers

Finally, we saw some elephants up close at Madupitya. The group of 6 moved from the Tree Hut Forest into Madupitya.

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Thursday, October 03rd

Morning

Team: Petra, Jenny, Jasmine and Sonia

Pugmark survey in Mada Ela this morning. Only a few prints were found, and it was very hot. We had a lovely water break at a small river to cool off.

Afternoon

Team 1: Petra and Jenny

Observation in the tree hut forest next to Weheragala tank. A family of elephants, including infants and juveniles were observed.

Team 2: Sonia and Jasmine

National Park visit. Got very close to a heard of elephants, where an older female was very protective of the rest of the family.

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Friday, October 04th

Morning

Team: Petra, Jenny and Jasmine

Morning project was fence monitoring on the other side of Himbiliyakanda. The fence was well kept. We passed a farmer who was harvesting watermelon and gave us some of her watermelons. We all enjoyed them over the water break.

Afternoon

All Volunteers

Went to Weheragala for observation, where we saw one elephant run across the road but it disappeared into the forest very quickly.

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Monday, October 07th

Morning

Team: Jenny

As Jenny was the only volunteer this morning, we re-potted orange trees with Vijay. It was a hot, but successful morning.

Afternoon

All Volunteers Naomi, Dan and Dana arrived just in time for a quick orientation before we left to do elephant observations. We saw 3 separate elephants within the first half hour but then nothing. It started to storm at 17.45 so we quickly left.

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Tuesday, October 08th

Morning

Team 1: Jenny (with Ruvini, Alicia and Asitha)

Mahaweli river survey with Jenny was very productive. We got through 2 locations despite the heat.

Team 2: Naomi, Dan and Dana

Sand and camera traps with Chathuranga. Volunteers spotted a leopard print in the sand traps!

Afternoon

All Volunteers

We waited at the tank for 1.5 hours and finally heard them in the forest at 17.30. At 17.50 we saw a family emerge with some babies and juveniles.

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Wednesday, October 09th

Morning

Team: Jenny, Dan, Naomi and Dana

Dung analysis was conducted at Weheragala tank to see if elephants are in the area. Only 5-7 day old dung was found, which proves they are elsewhere and explains why we haven’t seen elephants for a while!

Afternoon

All Volunteers

No elephants were observed today, but we saw a lot of birds including a hoopoe which was very exciting.

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Thursday, October 10th

Morning

Team: Jenny, Dan, Naomi and Dana

Fence monitoring along the river was very productive from our volunteers. There were more than 10 poles knocked down from elephants in the area.
Afternoon

Team 1: Jenna and Dana

Went to regular observation at Weheragala Tank. No elephants were observed.

Team 2: Naomi and Dan

Volunteers observed over 100 elephants in the national park! It was a fabulous day for them.

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Friday, October 11th

Morning

Team: Dan, Naomi and Dana

Volunteers went to Pussellayaaya for Project Orange Elephant, where they weeded and surveyed orange trees of 2 farms. It was hard work, but rewarding.

Afternoon

All Volunteers

One elephant was observed today, despite getting stuck in the mud and everyone chipping in to help push out the jeep. It was great fund and team building!

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For information on the SLWCS Volunteer Program please visit: https://www.slwcs.org/volunteer

SLWCS Staff and Volunteer shirts sponsored by elephantea

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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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