Photo by Kylie Butler 2Sri Lanka cropped

"I feel extremely grateful and proud to have been part of SLWCS, even if it was just for a short time; it is a truly ethical organisation, where the work I did genuinely makes a difference, which I feel is not the case for many other volunteer projects." Ciera O’Dwyer, UK

21. Pierre Chauvel

A herd of elephants at the WG Tank

Ciera O’Dwyer

I feel extremely grateful and proud to have been part of SLWCS, even if it was just for a short time; it is a truly ethical organisation, where the work I did genuinely makes a difference, which I feel is not the case for many other volunteer projects.

Everyone at the field house was extremely welcoming upon arrival and continued to be as friendly throughout my whole stay. The food was always amazing and the field house was completely comfortable. I feel so lucky for my time there, meeting beautiful people and the days were always filled with fun and laughter. All of the workers were amazing and made the time there even more fun. I learnt so much and have been inspired to think more about conservation in my life/ further studies.

Aside from the morning volunteer work, the elephant spotting in the afternoons is so relaxing and enjoyable to end each day... being in such close proximity to wild elephants on many occasions is an unbelievable special experience. My time with SLWCS truly enlightened me to the disgusting corruption there is within elephant ‘sanctuaries’ and ‘orphanages’ in Sri Lanka and other countries, highlighting how important conservation organisations like this are and how important it is to support and work alongside them.

10. Ciera ODwyer

Electric Fence Monitoring

09. Ciera ODwyer

Conducting a HEC survey in a house that had been attacked by an elephant

11. Ciera ODwyer

Project Orange Elephant: Planting an orange tree to create coexistence between people and elephants.

Anjallee Prabhakaran
Sri Lanka

This is my second time interning at the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society and it was just as enriching and educational an experience as the first. During my three weeks stay at the field house I was able to meet with and befriend some wonderful people. Chandima and the rest of the SLWCS staff were welcoming as always and I was fortunate to be able to learn and become involved in the many daily activities to collect data for the projects the organization is currently working on. I was able to work with and learn a great deal from Chandima who is always keen on teaching his interns about the work the organization is doing and what their future goals are.

My role as an intern was to create Elephant Identification cards for the Wasgamuwa elephants which I have been helping Chandima with since the last time I interned there. I was also assigned other tasks which involved data entry and assisting staff members with volunteer coordination. I was truly inspired by my experience working with the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society and gained great insight into the work they are doing to mitigate the human elephant conflict in Sri Lanka and protect the rest of this country’s biodiversity. I would highly recommend this organization as it is truly dedicated to achieving its goals and educate all who choose to become a part of their journey in creating a sustainable future.

01. Anjallee Prabhakaran

Anjalle on the right with Field Scout Dinu heading into the field

02. Anjallee Prabhakaran
03. Anjallee Prabhakaran

Sophie May Watts

I’ve been so busy at the SLWCS field house that my seven week internship has flown by.

As part of the Sri Lankan 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 SLWCS, 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 (and the picture) forever.

33. Sophie May Watts
31. Sophie May Watts
32. Sophie May Watts

The hardworking interns and staff: Anjallee, Rashika, Anjuli and Sophie in the SLWCS Field Head Quarters

Anniek Heideman
The Netherlands

For me this was the first time volunteering, and the first time travelling alone! I really like elephants, basically my whole life. So when I saw I could go to Sri Lanka and work with elephants I booked this one.

Before I went here I got the idea I’d see a shit load of wild elephants and will be building fences for the elephants. So when I got here the SLWCS staff explained to me what we would do during the week. Every day was different and we got to do a lot! I’ve learned so much about wild elephants and that it’s really necessary to understand the situation between elephants and farmers. We went to farmers and actually saw elephant damage, it’s super interesting. I wish I could stay here longer because the food is good, people are super nice and everyone is helpful and always want to explain things about the project. I really felt like a volunteer and learned so much.

05. Anniek Heideman
04. Anniek Heideman
06. Anniek Heideman

Enjoying local hospitality


This is the first time that I join a volunteer program like this. Although the weather is so hot, I still enjoy the elephant observation activities and talking with the local people. It’s a great opportunity for me to get closed to the wild elephant and understand the human elephant conflict situation here, and also bring me close to the local people and know more about their life. Besides, the staff here are very kind and helpful, and the other volunteers I met are very nice too. It’s definitely a wonderful experience!!

07. Sherry China

Sherry and friend with DJ at the Mahaweli River

08. Sherry China

Maja Melze

My Name is Maja and I’m 18 years old and I’ve been here for two weeks and I had an amazing time in the field house. I met so many nice and approachable people and also the stuff people and very friendly. I really liked all the activities and it was very interesting to learn quiet a lot about the human elephant conflict.

For me the most interesting thing was going to the Sri Lankan people homes and talk to them. They were so hospitable, and they have told us about their experiences with the elephants and what the elephants have destroyed. It’s unbelievable to see that the people are so afraid of the elephants, but the other way around too.

I also really enjoyed the afternoons in the tree hut, when we were in the nature and that close to the elephants. All in all I had an amazing time with the SLWCS and highly recommend it to everyone.

17. Maja

Waiting for elephants at the WG Tank

18. Maja

Checking for spoor on a Sand Trap

16. Maja

Maja checking a field that had been raided by an elephant

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Photo Credits:
Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society

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