Photo by Kylie Butler 2Sri Lanka cropped

"I learnt so much about elephants, their behaviour and the conflict between these sweet giants and the community." Filipa Mouga, Portugal

02. Georgia Bull elephants

A herd in a playful mood

Birgit & Alicia Dörfle (mum and daughter)

When we first arrived at the field house, it was just a house to us. But when we left, we had made friends with very interesting people, from all over the world. The accommodation was very basic, but the people there made it a lovely home to us, for the 10 days we stayed. We got to befriend the staff, locals and country.

We loved the trip on the Elefriendly Bus, teaching the children at school and helping with rebuilding houses, that had been destroyed by elephants. It was a wonderful experience and opportunity to meet and get to know many different people with the same interest: saving elephants by helping people!

01. Birgit Alicia POE

Alicia working on orange tree maintenance

02. Birgit Alicia Clearing rubble

Alicia and Birgit helping to clear the rubble in a house damaged by an elephant

03. Birgit Alicia building the wall

Birgit helping to repair the house

04. Birgit playing with school kids

Birgit playing with the school children

05. Birgit Alicia Alicia playing volleyball

Alicia playing volleyball

06. Birgit Alicia going on a transect

Doing a transect

Filipa Mouga

During my three weeks on the project I learnt so much about elephants, their behaviour and the conflict between these sweet giants and the community. It is not a typical volunteer programme made for tourism, we really help them without interfering. I felt like I helped in the correct way and definitely understood how research work is made.

The afternoons are well spent in the tree hut, which is my favourite part of the day. The local people that work here are so nice, they are our Sri Lankan family. The connections that we make with other volunteers are definitely what makes everything more fun and its hard to say goodbye.

It was hard work but I loved every minute!

01. Filipa Mouga measuring elephant footprints

Measuring elephant footprints

03. Filipa Mouga monitoring an electric fence

Monitoring an electric fence

02. Filipa Mouga checking a camera trap

Checking camera traps

04. Filipa Mouga monitoring orange plants

Monitoring the condition of orange plants

Georgia Bull

When taking part in the SLWCS project for the past 2 weeks I felt that I have gained an immense amount of knowledge about the culture and a great insight into the villages and the struggles between elephant and human interaction. It was great to be able to support the community and meet great deal of new and interesting people.

The staff and other volunteers on the project were so welcoming and friendly which made me feel far more comfortable and excited for the project right from the start.

The tasks involved within the project are unbelievably rewarding; one of the most rewarding activities that I took part in was rebuilding the houses for the villagers which became a job for us due to human and elephant conflict. The feeling after finishing the house is different from anything else I have ever experienced, the satisfying and fulfilling warmth that I felt was the highlight of my 2 weeks!

Visiting the National Park was another highlight for me as I was able to see the elephants close for the first time and it was interesting for a first-time experience!

01. Georgia Bull orange trees

Orange tree maintenance

03. Georgia Bull repairing a home

Repairing an elephant damaged house

04. Georgia Bull Being hosted by the home owners

Feeling satisfied after repairing the house and about to partake of a local meal hosted by the appreciative homeowner

05. Georgia Bull Enjoying a casava meal

Enjoying the freshly prepared cassava

06. Georgia Bull HEC Surveys

Conducting HEC surveys

Lucy Collette

I was involved in the project for a very rewarding and eye opening 2 weeks. Whilst it was challenging at times with more physically demanding activities, the support received throughout and the good that comes from the projects made it so worthwhile.

Getting to help and improve the lives of the local villagers and therefore improve the lives of the elephants was an amazing opportunity and one that I won’t forget. Particularly when we assisted with house rebuilds, it really brought to life the idea of ‘Saving the Elephants by helping the people’.

The highlights of the 2 weeks for me would be getting to visit the National Park where we were able to see the elephants up close, getting to teach English at the local school and create lesson plans and activities for the children. Another great aspect of the project is being able to get hands on with introducing and maintaining projects set up by the SLWCS (e.g., The Orange Elephant Project).

The staff and other volunteers were amazing to be around, and it was a great opportunity to meet people from around the world who share the same passion and interests.

01. Lucy Collette Orange trees

Orange tree maintenance

03. Lucy Collette repairing

Repairing a house attacked by an elephant

04. Lucy Collette school kids

Singing songs with school girls

05. Lucy Collette HEC Surveys

Conducting HEC interviews and enjoying local hospitality

02. Lucy Collette elephants

An elephant herd at the national park

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!

Powered by Mad Mimi®A GoDaddy® company