"The experience was incredible"
Nate Bills, from Australia, volunteered for 1 week in June 2019
The location for the project is awesome! You are so close to the national park and the villages where you can see elephants. Everyone working at the field house is so nice and they make it a good atmosphere when you are working or relaxing in between activities. The cooking from Mahinda is the best I had on my trip.
We were really lucky seeing elephants every day, especially at the park where we saw heaps in one afternoon and even saw one of the two bulls with tusks.
Ravi answered any questions I had before I arrived and Chinthaka and Chat were great with the organization of getting us there and planning all the activities. It was quiet when I was there but I would still definitely recommend it as the experience was incredible and I can imagine it would only be better with a lot of volunteers to share it with.
"I had a wonderful experience"
Wassim Dassouki, from Lebanon, volunteered for 1 week in October 2018
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 (WorkingAbroad), its where I found the Elephant Conservation project in Sri 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 to not 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 there and earned some useful information regarding elephants and other animals. Hoping for the program to continue successfully in making a difference.
"Will treasure the memory forever"
Sophie May Watts, from the USA, joined for 1 month from February to March 2018
I’ve been so busy at the field house that my time has flown by. As part of the Carnivore Project, I worked on organizing and initial analysis of the camera trap images obtained from outside the National Park area. I was amazed by the diversity caught on cameras, quite literally images of sambar deer followed by small Indian civets followed by sloth bears. Specifically I also created an identification guide and database for each individual leopard caught on camera, by highlighting unique and noticeable spot patterns.
When I wasn’t in the office I joined with the other volunteer activities to get a feel for the wider aims of the project. I particularly enjoyed planting orange trees as it was nice to see the immediate benefits to our hard work. One of the highlights of my trip saved itself to the end, when the BBC Natural History Unit came to film footage of human-elephant conflict in the area.
Living in this rural part of Sri Lanka is a rare experience, and something I relished as I saw over twenty new species of birds and got to enjoy the view of the Knuckles daily. I’m grateful to have seen elephants so close in Wasgamuwa National Park and will treasure the memory forever.
"I have learnt a lot about the elephant and human conflict in Sri Lanka"
Bethany Standish, from England, joined for 2 weeks in January 2018
I have spent two wonderful weeks at the Elephant Conservation project! This was my first experience volunteering at a conservation project and really feel like the organisation and staff involved are making a difference in the community, with both the elephants and the people.
I felt very much at home at the field house and this is due to the lovely staff, great food and the friendly atmosphere. I have learnt a lot about the elephant and human conflict in Sri Lanka and will make sure I make people aware of the problems when I return home. I also had the opportunity to teach English in the local school which was a great experience and would recommend it to anyone!
"I really enjoyed my stay here"
Linn Mansson, from Sweden, joined the project in December 2017
Today I had my last day here at the project and I could not have had a better last day. We saw like 20 elephants and they were all so close. Amazing! I have now been here for three weeks (okay a little bit shorter since I went to The Maldives for Christmas) and I have had an amazing time here. This is such a great project with really determined people who wants to make a change and preserve the elephants and their habitat.
The whole project is very complex and covers a lot of things. When I first got here I thought we would mostly observe elephants, but I love how that was not the case. Talking with farmers about the damage elephants have done, make them feel heard, coming up with solutions such as bio fences, all to protect the elephants. Also analyzing dung to learn where the elephants have been, what they have been eating and other interesting things. The sand traps and camera traps were also very interesting! The project is covering almost the whole problem which is superb!
I also want to say a big thank you to Rashika for being a fantastic person and teaching us so much about elephants, birds, farmers, everything. She is the best! So yes, I really enjoyed my stay here! You guys are the best!