Photo by Kylie Butler 2Sri Lanka cropped

"It’s with a heavy heart I am finishing my time here, but I would return in a heartbeat. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience for anybody truly passionate about wildlife conservation, and I couldn’t recommend this organisation highly enough." Sophie Omer-McWalter, England

Sophie Omer Mcwalter Observing Elephants at WG Tank

Observing elephants at the WG Tank

Bryony Dimmer
United Kingdom

It has been such a unique and amazing experience that I will never forget. The staff are all super friendly and incredibly knowledgeable about the issues facing the local communities, both human and elephant. I feel that I have learnt a huge amount in a very short space of time and seen another side to Sri Lanka that would not have been possible without SLWCS.

The highlight for me has to be going to the school and teaching my first English lesson- made me truly realise how important education is and how amazing teachers are to do that everyday! All the other volunteers were lovely and I loved sharing their stories and interests. Thank you so much and hope the project goes from strength to strength!

Bryony Dimmer Harvesting Oranges

Harvesting oranges

Bryony Dimmer Weighing Oranges

Getting ready to weigh the oranges

Bryony Dimmer Teaching at School

Teaching at the local school

Bryony Dimmer Teaching English at School
Bryony Dimmer Observing Elephants

An elephant feeding by the Tree Hut

Lisanne Hoftijzer
The Netherlands

I stayed for two weeks and loved it. This is a project where you actually make a difference for the elephants which is not always the case when volunteering. The human-elephant conflict is really become clearer to me, and how this project is helping both sides to come to a solution.

My personal favourite activity was the camera traps, very cool to see the pictures afterwards. The view from the Field House is also amazing, very calming. Would recommend!

Lisanne Hoftijzer POE Survey

Conducting a Project Orange Elephant survey

Lisanne Hoftijzer Recording Caterpillar Damage on Orange Trees

Assessing caterpillar damage on orange trees

Lisanne Hoftijzer Recording Caterpillar Damage
Lisanne Hoftijzer Dung Transect

Doing a dung transect

Lisanne Hoftijzer Elephants at the Tree Hut

Giving a massive bull the right of way while trying not to get noticed...

Lisanne Hoftijzer At the Tree Hut

Waiting for elephants at the Tree Hut

Rachel Rosenbloom

Volunteering at SLWCS has been transformative on a level only achievable by programs as immersive as this one. Finding the online description of this organization was my motivation for planning an international trip, and it did not disappoint. Within the first few days, thanks to hands-on projects and conversations with the highly educated staff, coordinators, and volunteers, my understanding of conservation and of the efforts specifically underway at SLWCS had caused a complete shift in my perspective.

I really enjoyed time observing the wild elephants, but more importantly getting the opportunity to interact with local farmers, hearing of their struggles with elephant interactions and receiving their selfless generosity and hospitality.

I look forward to educating friends and family back in the United States about Sri Lanka, elephants, and conservation with the perspective and insight provided to me by SLWCS.

Rachel Rosenbloom Electric Fence Monitoring

Monitoring an electric fence

Rachel Rosenbloom Sand Traps

Setting a sand trap

Rachel Rosenbloom Monitoring Orange Trees

Monitoring orange plants

Rachel Rosenbloom Harvesting Oranges

Harvesting oranges

Rachel Rosenbloom Enjoying the Hospitality of the Villagers

Enjoying the hospitality of local villagers while conducting various surveys

Sophie Omer-McWalter
United Kingdom

The two weeks I’ve had volunteering with the SLWCS have been hands down two of the best I’ve had. I came across this programme after researching various projects involving volunteering with elephants. It was very important to me to find the ‘right’ kind of project, more specifically one where a) I could see the longer-term value of the work I was involved in and, vitally, b) a project where the elephants’ best interests were at the heart of it. I absolutely found what I was looking for in this respect.

From inspecting dung all the way up to some truly magical experiences observing the elephants in the wild, I could not have asked for more from my time here. As a lifelong elephant-lover, to observe them in their natural environment was incredible. But I also feel I have learnt a lot about human elephant conflict and appreciate how vital resolving this is to the conservation of the creatures I hold so dear.

The staff here have also been an integral part of making this experience for me. Put simply, they are wonderful. From the practical jokes of Siriya, VJ, Sarath and Asitha, the fantastic companionship of Anj, Rashika and Akila, to the delicious cooking of Leila and Swarna, and the vast knowledge of Chandima and Chinthaka; this project is a credit to the team heading it up and I shall miss them sorely. As with my fellow volunteers - you really feel like you are part of one big family whilst you are here, and I’ve made memories I will cherish. Staying in the rustic field house amidst such a beautiful setting was the cherry on top.

It’s with a heavy heart I am finishing my time here, but I would return in a heartbeat and look forward to seeing what the future holds for this project. This is truly a once in a lifetime experience for anybody truly passionate about wildlife conservation, and I couldn’t recommend this organisation highly enough.

Sophie Omer Mcwalter Help Maintain Beehive Fences

Helping to maintain the Beehive Fences

Sophie Omer Mcwalter Monitoring Beehive Fences

Checking a beehive

Sophie Omer Mcwalter Pug Marks

Pug Marks

Sophie Omer Mcwalter Taking pug mark measurements

Measuring pug marks

Sophie Omer Mcwalter Observing Elephants

Observing elephants at the WG Tank

Sophie Omer Mcwalter A massive dominant bull elephant at WN

A massive dominant bull

Photo Credits:

Bryony Dimmer/Volunteer/SLWCS
Lisanne Hoftijzer/Volunteer/SLWCS
Rachel Rosenbloom/Volunteer/SLWCS
Sophie Omer-Mcwalter/Volunteer/SLWCS
Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society

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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