Photo by Kylie Butler 2Sri Lanka cropped

"I have had the most incredibly eye-opening and heart warming experience volunteering with the SLWCS, it honestly was not long enough! " Maddy Northover, Australia

04. Erwan JEZEQUEL Bull elephant by Tree Hut

A solitary bull at the Tree Hut

Ellen Ye

During my six weeks with SLWCS I Iearned a lot about the human elephant conflict in Sri Lanka. It is an uplifting experience to help work on projects that are trying to find relief for this problem.

We talked to farmers and helped them by rebuilding houses that were damaged during elephant crop raids or by handing out orange plants whose smell can keep elephants away. I also really enjoyed the school project in which we went to a local school to help young adolescents improve their English skills.

Apart from the social projects I really enjoyed being out in nature to collect data on elephant migration habits and behaviour which is important to find solutions to prevent further issues. In the afternoons we would go to the tree hut and observe elephants who would often feed on the grass in the area and cross the road to go to the nearby lake. It is one of my favourite places since it is the ideal place to unwind and get to know the other volunteers.

I also loved going to the national park to see wild elephants! But my time here wouldn‘t have been complete without the wonderful staff. They didn‘t just take care of us but they also made us feel right at home with their sense of humour, hospitality and positive nature. My time here was filled with warmth, laughter and knowledge.

02. Ellen Ye Heading to the field

Heading on a transect with VJ

01. Ellen Ye Teaching at School

Teaching at the school

03. Ellen Ye HEC Survey

Conducting HEC surveys

04. Ellen Ye Wesak Festival

Preparing for the Wesak Festival

Camille Everarts

I spent 3 weeks in this little paradise and this 3 weeks were an amazing experience. I could learn a lot of things about elephants and the conflict between them and the people. This project is very interesting and I really love the way how they protect the elephants: Saving elephants by helping people.

We spent every afternoon in the tree hut, and it’s a very good place to observe the elephants when they are there, I loved it and I will miss this.
The staffs and all the volunteers are really nice and friendly, we spent a lot of really good moments. I was impressed by the knowledge of the staffs about elephants.

Thank you for the wonderful adventure, I will never forget it!

01. Camille Everarts Fence Monitoring

Monitoring an electric fence

02. Camille Everarts After repairing a broken home

A happy family whose home that was damaged by an elephant was repaired

03. Camille Everarts Dung Transects

Collecting elephant dung data

04. Camille Everarts Checking camera traps

Heading into the jungle to check on remote cameras


I stayed in the elephant project for two weeks and really liked it because the mission is quite essential, understanding and resolving the human/elephant conflict, and you have the feeling to participate in something meaningful for the environment, the people and the elephants. What I liked the most was observing the elephants from the tree hut and of course seeing them from so close in the national park from where we were parked. It was wonderful to be surrounded by the elephants, to see them moving and to observe them in silence, just enjoying this magical moment.

Volunteering was quite an amazing experience that changed my opinion on a lot of things, especially seeing the villagers living so humbly and always smiling to you and helping you. I would go back to the project for sure.

01. Erwan JEZEQUEL repairing broken homes

Another home that was repaired after it was attacked by an elephant

02. Erwan JEZEQUEL Dung transcet

Analyzing elephant dung to find what elephants have been eating

03. Erwan JEZEQUEL Taking a break during teaching

Taking a break during teaching to enjoy the refreshments provided by the school

05. Erwan JEZEQUEL Tank Eagle

Grey-headed Fish Eagle perched by the WG Tank

Chloe Snoeck

I was suppose to volunteer for 3 weeks when I first arrived in Sri Lanka but I was “too scared” and not ready to get out of my comfort zone. So I cancelled 2 weeks to do only 1 week. Only when you’re really involved in it that you realize that you don’t want to stop this amazing experience and leave. I had such a good week here and I really don’t want to leave; I regret that I cancelled these 2 other weeks. All the staff is nice and funny. The place is really nice too, it is such a change and so different to the other volunteer house I stayed at.

The painting of the volunteers on the walls, the amazing view of the lake… I’m just a little bit sad that I didn’t see elephants when we were in the tree hut but still, I saw a lot of elephants when we went to the National Park.

Thank you for everything and I’m hoping I’ll come back soon to spend more time here. It was a great experience!

01. Chloe Snoeck Fence monitoring

Monitoring an electric fence

03. Chloe Snoeck Dung Transects

Searching for elephant dung

Maddy Northover

I have had the most incredibly eye-opening and heart warming experience volunteering with the SLWCS over the past 3 weeks, it honestly was not long enough! The work the team are doing here is very ethical and just makes sense, helping the elephants by helping the people. I learnt so much from the work we did, it is all researched based tasks that allows you to get down and dirty, picking through dung, scouting for footprints, digging sand traps, this was all right up my alley and I loved every second of it.

During my time we we’re lucky to help rebuild a couple of the houses in the village that had been damaged by elephants as apart of a volunteers initiative. It was hard work but seeing the families gratitude was of course worth it.

My favourite part of my time here was having the opportunity to observe elephants - observing how these incredible creatures doing their own thing in their own environment from the tree huts. Whether it was in thunder storms or intense heat I looked forward to the tree huts everyday, its where I had what could be the best moments of my life just messing around with the staff while waiting to see elephants. It is such a beautiful and natural thing to be up a tree surrounded by a herd of elephants completely in the wild.

But what tops this whole experience off is hands down the crazy cool field house! Its basic living at its finest, completely open and blessed with one of the best shower views in Sri Lanka. I loved every second of my time here with SLWCS and have been heavily motivated to continue along the wildlife conservation path, as you can see from this project that it is so important and worthwhile.

01. Maddy Northover Building homes

Repairing a home damaged by an elephant

02. Maddy Northover On Safari

At the national park getting ready to observe elephants

04. Maddy Northover Tree Hut

Tree Hut Fun!

03. Maddy Northover On Safari

The amazing elephants!

05. Maddy Northover Chilling in the Tank

Chilling in the lake

Photo Credits:

Anjuli Swift/SLWCS
Akila Weerakoon/SLWCS
Rashika Ranasinghe/SLWCS
Ravi Corea/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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