SRI LANKA: Help with Elephant Conservation Efforts in Asia

Company : Travellers Worldwide
Activities: Community Volunteer Projects / Safari Tours / Animal Volunteer Projects / Conservation Volunteer Projects
Country: Sri Lanka
Location : Pusseleya
Duration: 2 weeks to 3 months
Approx Costs: 1000 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

Care for elephants & wildlife in Wasgamuwa National Park! Go back to basics in stunning rural Sri Lanka and play a part in protecting the county's giants & get involved in the local community.


PROJECT OVERVIEW

The activities on this project are immense and you could be involved in a number of things while working and living in Wasgamuwa. One moment you could be laying cameras to identify new leopard trails, and then next you could be staying overnight in a tree-house to watch for elephants. You don't need any qualifications to participate in this project.

This is a fantastic opportunity to get involved in conservation efforts in Sri Lanka. The project, run by one of Sri Lanka's top Conservation Societies, is well structured and enormously beneficial to the local people and environment.In 2008, the SLWCS was selected by the United Nations Development Programme to be a recipient of the prestigious Equator Prize 2008. The Equator Prize is an international award that honours community-based projects that represent outstanding efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. You are needed to provide essential people power to help sustain these efforts, and in return you'll gain a whole host of experience and knowledge that will last a lifetime.

The main aim of the project is to "save elephants, other biodiversity and their habitats by helping people". The activities undertaken on this project are vast, and you could find yourself involved in any number of things while working and living in Wasgamuwa. One moment you could be laying cameras to identify new leopard trails, and then next you could be staying overnight in a treehouse to watch for elephants.

 

ELEPHANT RESEARCH:

  • Tank monitoring
  • Trail transects on trails that range from 5-10 kilometers on undulating to steep terrain.
  • Road transects out side and inside the park.
  • Park ID - identification of elephants within the park
  • Fence monitoring
  • Observations of elephants from tree hut and at tanks

 

SOCIO-ECONOMIC AND AGRO/SOCIAL FORESTRY RESEARCH

  • Elephant Damage Surveys
  • Village Headman (GND) Surveys
  • HEC and HLC assessment surveys
  • Project Orange Elephant – Citrus Plantation

 

FARMING

  • Data on farming operations (such as number of eggs produced, milk production, health issues, paddy/fruit production)

 

GIS RESEARCH AND OVERALL COORDINATION

  • Identification of trails which leopards/bears/prey species use
  • Biodiversity mapping
  • HEC/HLC Mapping
  • Analysis of GIS data from all other research projects

 

WHAT THE PROJECT GAINS FROM YOUR VOLUNTEERING:

“The volunteer program is an integral component of the sustainable initiatives we are implementing in Sri Lanka. There has been a completely new economic development at the local level just based on the volunteer program. You can observe this in the growth and development of so many of the local stakeholders who are directly and indirectly benefiting from the program. Even for the Wasgamuwa National Park we provide their biggest revenue. We hope to initiate a study just to assess the economic impact of the volunteer program at Wasgamuwa.” Dr Ravi Corea, President and Founder of the Sri Lankan Wildlife Conservation Society

 

LOCATION:

The Wasgamuwa National Park is a dedicated area of conservation, a stunning expanse of grasslands and hills described by locals as the most beautiful place in the whole of Sri Lanka. Elephants are synonymous with Sri Lanka, and have lived alongside the people of this incredible country as long as the civilisation has existed. Be a part of the conservation effort and get to know the real Sri Lanka!

The location is amazing, with breathtaking scenery and wildlife set in the remote hinterland of the island, given the accolade by the local people as the most beautiful part of Sri Lanka. This placement is ideal if you enjoy wildlife and the outdoors - there is plenty to keep you occupied in this beautiful region. The surrounding jungles and villages can be explored easily by foot or bike and trips to other parks in the region can be arranged.

 

ACCOMMODATION:

You will live in a remote village called Pusseleya on the outskirts of the National Park, located around 7 hours east of Colombo. The community that you will become a part of is mostly dependant on paddy farming for its livelihood and as such the way of life here is very simple - you will need to be prepared to 'get back to basics' and live like the villagers.

 

ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES YOU CAN DO WHILE ON THIS PROJECT

  • MEDITATION COURSES at a Buddhist Retreat for a few days or as long as you choose. Relax and be inspired! This optional extra programme can be combined with any project in Sri Lanka.
  • COOKERY COURSES (coming soon) that give you a good insight into how to prepare some typical Sri Lankan dishes.
  • 1-WEEK ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE in the famous Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, n experience you’ll never forget!. You’ll stay in our Travellers house in Kegalle with other Travellers volunteers.
  • SIGHTSEEING: As well as the above, all our volunteers use their weekends and free time to do a lot of travelling around the southern part of the island. There are many, many attractive tourist sights to see, ranging from glorious beaches to impressive temples. The towns and villages are fascinating and very different to what we're used to.

 

WHAT TO DO NEXT

Send an enquiry - we're there to help you. Most of our team are ex volunteers and are ideally qualified to offer advice and guidance because they know what you're looking for. They'll help you find your perfect project - and then make it all happen! As soon as we receive it, we’ll liaise with you and then start making your travel adventure happen. It’s as easy as that.

Start Dates

All year round. Projects start on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month. You should arrive in Sri Lanka on the Sunday before your chosen start date. For availability please contact the office.

Costs / Benefits

Costs vary depending on length of placement, but starts at £1,195 for two weeks. You can participate for up to one year, subject to visa requirements.

Included:
- Full support from the moment of booking and throughout your placement to your return home.
- Support staff 24/7 in all our destinations worldwide and a 24 hour emergency international telephone line direct to the Head Office.
- All meals are provided, unless otherwise stated.
- Accommodation is provided (whether a rented house, a hotel/hostel, home stay, apartment or flat).
- You'll also receive a free T-shirt.
- You’ll be met at the nearest airport on your arrival by our in-country manager who will take you to your accommodation and give you a full induction into the area. He/she will also be on call 24/7 and you’ll see them frequently.
- Pre-departure you’ll receive comprehensive information about every aspect of your placement and necessary preparations, ranging from what to pack, to visa information, to what to do on your weekend travel in the country. Your safety, well being and happiness throughout your placement are our primary concerns and we will keep in touch with you throughout.

Requirements

No qualifications or previous experience are necessary, just a good dose of enthusiasm and love for animals! Everyone is welcome to apply, whether gap year, undergraduate, on a career break - or even retired! From 17 years old upwards, and all nationalities. This placement would suit anyone who wants to make a real difference, wants first-hand experience of a different culture and has initiative.

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