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Gold

The Great Elephant Project

Wasgamuwa National Park, Sri Lanka, Southern Asia, Asia

From £764 for 7 nights
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"Travel deep into the heart of the Sri Lankan jungle to encounter majestic Asiatic Elephants."

Travel deep into the heart of the Sri Lankan jungle to encounter majestic Asiatic Elephants. And what’s more, you’ll even contribute to their conservation, as a volunteer on the Great Elephant Project. Based on the fringes of the Wasgamuwa National Park, the project aims to better understand, and ultimately reduce, the conflict between human and elephant populations in the region. Human-wildlife conflict is a huge problem in this area, and is one of the main reasons that Asiatic elephant populations have plummeted over the last hundred years. By getting involved as a volunteer on this project, you’ll be helping to tackle this issue head-on, making a real difference to both elephants and local communities.

You’ll spend your days conducting ecological research on the Wasgamuwa region’s elephant population, with opportunities to participate in true conservation activities out in the field. You’ll get the chance to use GPS, camera traps and remote sensors, as well as learn more traditional methods like tracking and observation. All of these activities will help the project team to develop conservation strategies for local habitats, wildlife and communities. You’ll also gain a fascinating insight into the lives of the local villagers, and enjoy an authentic cultural experience as you immerse yourself in Sri Lankan life.

Over the last century, Asiatic elephant population numbers have plummeted. In part, this dramatic decrease can be attributed to human-elephant conflicts. In many parts of Asia, elephant habitats are being replaced by agriculture, both by small-scale independent farmers and larger agribusinesses (like palm oil). The WWF states that ‘habitat loss and conflict with people are among the biggest threats to (elephants’) continued survival’. This project works to find solutions to the issue of human-elephant conflict, and is the world’s first participatory, community-based Asiatic elephant research and conflict resolution programme.

The contribution of volunteers (both financial and practical) is vital in ensuring the ongoing success and long-term sustainability of the project. Volunteers help to collect data in the field, and get involved with conservation activities that allow for the development of strategies to mitigate human-elephant conflicts and encourage the sustainable use of land. The financial input of volunteers also makes a massive difference, making it possible to maintain equipment, hire local youths to work on the project, conduct research, and provide villagers with innovative land-use measures. Highly regarded internationally, the project was awarded an ‘Equator Prize’ by the United Nations Development Programme’s Equator Initiative in 2008.

Day 1

The Adventure Begins: On the day your programme begins, you’ll be collected from your hotel in Colombo at 6am by your project facilitator, to board an early-morning train. Upon your arrival in Kandy, Sri Lanka’s cultural capital, you’ll spend an hour or two exploring the city before taking a bus to the field site. Settle in to your new home before spending some time getting to know your fellow volunteers at an orientation meeting.

Day 2-7

Project Days: During your time on the project, your volunteering group will be split into two teams, and you’ll each take part in a wide variety of wildlife and elephant conservation activities in Wasgamuwa National Park. On top of the project activities, you’ll also visit local villages to see human-elephant conflict resolution initiatives. During your time off, relax or visit nearby cultural attractions like the ‘Temple of the Tooth’!

Day 8

Departure: Bid your project staff and other newfound friends a fond ‘farewell’ as you transfer back to Colombo. Board your homeward flight, or begin your independent travel plans if this isn’t the end of your adventure…

Rate Conditions

  • The rate shown is a 'from' price per person
  • Click 'Ask a Question' up above to enquire about full project dates, availability and costs
  • To secure a place on this project a 20% deposit is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.

Included

  • A contribution to the project
  • Transfers between Colombo and the project site
  • Full orientation and support from the project managers
  • Accommodation and all meals

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of a personal nature (soap, laundry, snacks etc.)
  • Anything else not mentioned in inclusions - if in doubt, click 'Ask a Question' up above to chat to the operator directly!

Area & Location

Area/Country:
Wasgamuwa National Park
Local currencies:
LKR
Time Change:
UTC+05:30

Ask a question

We will keep all your information confidential and only contact you in relation to your enquiry. We respond to all enquiries within 24 hours. Only your personal details are required, the rest you can leave blank if you like! If you'd prefer one of our eco experts to call you back, please complete the form below.

Check availability & pricing

We will keep all your information confidential and only contact you in relation to your enquiry. We respond to all enquiries within 24 hours. Only your personal details are required, the rest you can leave blank if you like! If you'd prefer one of our eco experts to call you back, please complete the form below.
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We will keep all your information confidential and only contact you in relation to your enquiry. We respond to all enquiries within 24 hours. Only your personal details are required, the rest you can leave blank if you like! If you'd prefer one of our eco experts to call you back, please complete the form below.