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"I have to say that I didn’t expect such a good project! I came here with the willing to try a volunteer experience for the first time by helping animals, but the philosophy engaged by SLWCS is even better! “Saving elephants by helping people” is such a brilliant idea." Maite Meunier, Belgium


Collecting elephant dung data at the WG Tank

Emily Brown

The morning activities are fun and interesting, the guides try hard to get everyone involved and you can learn a lot if you try to. All the guides are really friendly and funny – Siriya is brilliant at communicating despite not knowing English and makes what could be a boring moment fun – he is a real asset to the SLWCS.

My favourite activity is the pugmark analysis, although sometimes the water goes as high as your shoulders! You are looking for the prints of various wild cats along the edge of a stream then indentifying them by species, gender, front/hind and left/right. We also do Project Orange Elephant where we tend to orange trees at local farms that are grown to ward off elephants as they don’t like citrus. This is a really good project for future planning and I hope to come back in 3/4 years to see its progress. Seeing the result of the camera traps was awesome as well – a whole leopard family were captured walking along, doing their thing at night!

I enjoy the lunch time breaks because I never get time to just exist at home and it is too hot to be out and about here – playing carrom with Siriya and VJ is a lot of fun. The aftenoons are pretty relaxed as well, just chilling by a lake or in a treehut waiting for elephants. It’s great to see the elephants in the wild and the guides are very good at locating them and pointing them out when they are hiding in behind trees.

The field house is very basic, but you have the essentials: a bed, drinking water, electricity and the fridge is a bonus. The best things about the field house are: the artwork done by past volunteers, the showers that look out into the jungle, the kittens and the people of course.

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The convoy heading into the unknown

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An elephant that had come right underneath the Tree Hut

Janet Barnes

We learnt a lot about the elephant human conflict and saw the efforts to try to decrease the problem. We worked on the orange trees and saw the electric fence and the ele bus. We heard about the bee project and we participated on dung analysis, were educated in pugmarks, sand and camera traps. We hiked and swam and saw how the locals live and work plus we looked out for wildlife, ate local food and enjoyed getting to know the staff and hear their stories and also the volunteers met each other and enjoyed their company in nature on this adventure, all from different countries.

I love how it’s wild and rough and ready. I don’t get kittens on my mosquito net at home. Or see lizards and squirrels and crows in the lounge room or share meals with people from around the globe, and fly along in Land Rovers and tuk tuks on dusty roads and hike in jungles searching for natures splendours, and didn’t we see leopards and porcupines and mouse deer on the cameras? Now that’s wild! So, no improvements, let geckos fall in our dinner and let us play Uno and carom with Siriya and the guys cos we want it, bloody different from home that’s for sure. Thanks, it’s great.

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Electric fence monitoring

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Kjartan Gobeau

I liked all the types of activities.

I think that I will come again because I really enjoyed the activities and the people who are taking care of us.

Thank you so much Jasmin and all the staff for this awesome and amazing journey.

All was great, and I will come back.

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Alicia Chadwick

I’ve had the most amazing 6 weeks here volunteering for SLWCS. Coming from a conservation background the activities were right up my alley! I loved looking through dung and analysing the health of the elephants through doing so. Camera and sand traps, and pugmarks were so much fun and probably my favourite activities. We saw leopards, pangolins which was amazing and unexpected! Having to carefully back away and out of the forests when we bumped into the elephants was always a thrill and happened multiple times during my stay. The afternoon observations were always somewhat magical as you saw groups of elephants emerging from the forests down to the watering hole to bathe.

The outdoor open living was exactly what I was looking for, I love the getting back to nature feel and living simply. This being said, it was the staff and volunteers that made my experience extra spectacular. The field assistants especially with their great sense of humour and loving and caring nature as well as impressive knowledge, I know I will miss them dearly. Chat, Jasmin, Akila and Chandima were amazing with their knowledge and skills of leading a group of volunteers. I had two lectures from Chandima which were amazing to be apart of. I honestly can’t commend the staff enough, they have become a second family to me and I feel like I’ll definitely come back!

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Alicia having a great time volunteering for the SLWCS

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Maite Meunier

I have to say that I didn’t expect such a good project! I came here with the willing to try a volunteer experience for the first time by helping animals, but the philosophy engaged by SLWCS is even better! “Saving elephants by helping people” is such a brilliant idea that even though I had less affinity with some activities, I enjoyed every participation I had in the different projects. Nonetheless, observing the elephants at the end of the day remains surely the best part of the day for me.

Just sitting and observing the nature is not something that I take the time to do enough in my country. All these evenings were so precious to me. Apart from that, I think that the food was very good and quite diverse, which was really appreciated. Thank you so much. Thank you too to the all staff for their good mood and their super positive vibes! I had such a great time with all of you. I hope you’ll keep going with this amazing project!

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Photo Credits:
Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society
Jasmin Willis/SLWCS
Kjartan Gobeau
Alicia Chadwick
Maite Meunier
Janet Barnes
Emily Brown

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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