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Elephant & Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka

Experience
Volunteer
Destination
Sri Lanka
Duration
2 to 8 weeks
Ages
18 to 75

14 others looking at this too. Next opening is Apr 2024, with limited spots.

Book now, pay later. Cancel anytime.

Trip overview

Sri Lanka – a lively island-nation dripping off the subcontinent of India – is rich in culture, bursting with flavour, and full of diverse natural landscapes. 

On this trip, you’ll have a positive impact on wild elephants and their animal buddies while you’re surrounded by vast natural landscapes in rural Sri Lanka. 

Break out of your day-to-day routine and embark on an adventure that will make the world a better place and help you grow as a person. 

On this all-inclusive volunteer trip, not only do you get to live and volunteer with a trusted wildlife research and conservation organisation in Sri Lanka. When you go with Global, you get:

  • Volunteer project placement – Guarantee your spot at our screened and vetted project partner in Sri Lanka. Start your volunteer journey without spending months searching for a reputable organisation on the other side of the world. 
  • Dedicated Trip Coordinator & Travel Concierge – Feel prepared, informed, confident and excited with our team of dedicated experts on your side, right from the start.
  • Comfortable accommodation – Relax in your shared dorm accommodation surrounded by breathtaking natural vistas. Including western-style bathrooms, laundry facilities, and a coffee/tea station. 
  • Three meals a day – Enjoy a mixture of Sri Lankan and Western style meals during your trip. 
  • And way more!

If you’re looking for a trip to drop you smack-bang in the middle of the rural Central Province of Sri Lanka, while making a positive difference in the lives of wild elephants and a huge range of diverse animal life, this is the trip for you. 

You’ll spend your days monitoring, recording, and helping where necessary in three main objectives: elephant research, bird & butterfly research, and a carnivore study. 

Every day will be different. But you’ll get up close and personal with a range of wild animals as you monitor their movements, try to mitigate human-wildlife conflict, and record important data. 

Especially because your included volunteer accommodation is surrounded by a bird and butterfly sanctuary, overlooking “The Tank” (a man-made reservoir that looks and acts like a natural lake), at the foot of the iconic Knuckles Mountain Range. 

For most people, simply visiting this wild area of rural Sri Lanka is a bucket-list experience. But you’ll take it a step further. You’ll have hands-on impact on the conservation of this beautiful area and its vulnerable animal inhabitants while becoming a part of the community – making this a once in a lifetime experience.

And when you go with Global, you get the full experience for a fraction of the hassle. Your volunteer placement and accommodation is sorted before you leave, so you know exactly what you’re getting into.

Inclusions

Tap to expand

Volunteer project placement
Dedicated Trip Coordinator
Pre-Departure Guide
Trip visa guidance
Personal Travel Concierge
Return airport transfer
1 night hotel accommodation
Comfortable accommodation
Meals
Project supplies
Project orientation
Certificate of completion
Ongoing local team support
24/7 Global Emergency Line
gWorld access
Global Academy
Marketplace deals
Social
$250 off your next trip

Qualification

To qualify for this trip you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be between 18-75 years of age
  • Be a citizen of an eligible country
  • Have no criminal convictions in the past 5 years

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Meet your very first travel buddy, gWorld

Purpose & impact

This volunteer experience was founded to meet 3 objectives: 

1. Establish a citizen science program 

Wildlife research and conservation can offer some epic life-changing experiences for people from all over the world. And these experiences often turn people into lifelong custodians of life on earth. 

During your time as a volunteer, you’ll collaborate with research scientists, interns, and other volunteers on scientific data collection and wildlife conservation. 

2. Develop a sustainable revenue source through nature

Unfortunately, most living animals don’t have much economic value. A dead fish on a plate has market value. A living fish in the sea does not. You can help change this!

This trip is not just continuing important research and conservation, it’s also employing locals in the area so that an intact and beautiful natural area will have a direct economic impact on the community – a crucial step in making conservation sustainable in the long-term. 

3. Promote conservation 

The work of volunteers (like you!) sends a strong conservation message to the local communities: the environment and wildlife has value and needs to be conserved. 

You’ll be working closely with locally recruited and trained Field Scouts and Assistants – locals who are benefitting directly from the conservation of the area. 

You’ll have an immersive and hands-on experience, getting stuck in with whatever needs to happen on the day. Here are some ideas of what you could be doing each day. 

  • Elephant research, including monitoring, identifying individuals, and recording their movements. 
  • “Tank” monitoring. Observing where and how wild animals – big and small – move through the area surrounding “The Tank '' (a man-made reservoir which looks and acts like a natural lake). 
  • Human-elephant interaction at an elephant corridor. This ancient elephant corridor is a common place where humans and elephants interact. You’ll be monitoring these interactions and recording both aggressive and non-aggressive encounters. 
  • Electric fence monitoring and maintenance. One of the best ways to reduce human/animal conflict is prevention. Which makes these electric fences vital to the lives of wildlife and the safety of the community. 
  • Bird & butterfly research. Monitor and record populations, breeding, nesting habits and a whole lot more with the winged populations of the area. 
  • Small wild cat study. You’ll contribute to understanding the ecological role of small wild cats and the threats to their survival. 
  • Carnivore project. Help set up and check remote cameras that are used to gather information on the elusive leopard and sloth bear.
  • Optional: You’ll even get the chance to head out in the moonlight to observe the fascinating creatures of the dark!

Accommodation & meals

Your volunteer accommodation is on-site and a central part of this operation. 

You’ll stay in gendered dorm rooms with communal living areas, including laundry facilities and a tea/coffee station. 

The Field House is basic, blending seamlessly into the landscape. Although it’s spacious and homely and built for the climate – with high roofs to catch the cool breezes from the Tank and valley below. 

With your accommodation in Sri Lanka sorted and your volunteer placement organised, what will you do about food? 

You’ll be given 3 meals a day prepared fresh by the on-site staff. Enjoy a blend of Sri Lankan and Western style favourites. 

Sri Lankan food is absolutely incredible. It’s well worth stepping out of your culinary comfort zone to sample some Sri Lankan sorcery. 

Compared to Indian food, Sri Lankan food focuses more on fragrant elements than spicy elements. Although it’s certainly more spicy than typical Western food. 

But don’t worry. Dietary restrictions will be accommodated, including vegan/vegetarian or non-spicy food.

Trip itinerary

Before you leave

Your volunteer placement – including accommodation and 3 meals a day – is confirmed and organised before you leave home.

Arrival

When you arrive at Bandaranaike International Aiport in Colombo, a driver will be waiting for you. You’ll be taken straight to your first night hotel accommodation before being transferred to the volunteer accommodation. Take some time to relax, settle in, and meet your fellow volunteers.

Day 2+

Every day will be different depending on the needs of the animals and the organisation. But here’s an idea of how a typical day may go:  6:00 - 7:30 am: Birding/observing nature around the Field House after tea/coffee. You can choose to learn how to identify the birds and maintain a checklist.   7:30 - 8:00 am: Freshen up  8:00 - 09.00 am: Breakfast/discuss the day’s activities 9:00 am - 12.00 pm: The whole group will work on the Butterfly Sanctuary. You’ll be weeding, planting, and watering host plants. Identifying butterflies and helping create micro-habitats for specific species to understand the importance of maintaining habitats while appreciating the diversity and ecological role of butterflies.  12:00 - 3:00 pm: Return to camp. Clean up and put away your equipment, refresh, and relax.  3:00 - 6:30 pm: Team A – Tank monitoring. Learn how to photograph and identify individual elephants. Collect elephant behavioural data to develop an elephant ethogram. Team B – Go to the Tree Hut to observe human-elephant conflict in an ancient elephant corridor.  7:00 pm: Return to camp. Clean and put away your equipment. Refresh and relax.  7:30 - 8:30 pm: Dinner  8:30 - 9:30 pm: Input the day's data/watch a documentary/hang out with fellow volunteers and scientists.  10:00 pm: Lights out  9 – 12 pm (optional): Small Wild Cat Study. Collect data on Fishing, Jungle, and Rusty-spotted cats by watching them with night vision scopes and thermal cameras. 

Ongoing

Once your placement is over, you can choose to stay on in Sri Lanka to explore what else it and the surrounding areas have to offer.  Hop onto gWorld – our social app for Global Travellers – and link up with other travellers to explore Sri Lanka together. You could even join a bucket-list Global Getaway with other Global Travellers. Whatever you choose to do, we can help make it easy.  We’ll be in touch with you throughout your stay. If you ever need advice or support our team is available to answer your questions. And our 24/7 Emergency Support Line will help with urgent matters.  Don’t go alone. Go with Global.

Why choose us

We take care of pretty much everything so you don’t have to. You’ll arrive in Sri Lanka totally prepared with a plan of action and trusted people helping you along the way. 

Our volunteer trips are designed to help you make a real change in critical causes around the world. All while experiencing off-the-beaten-path locations with passionate locals. Our goal is to save you time, money, and stress while eliminating the risk of returning home early. Here’s how we do it: 

We’re on your side from the moment you get started. 

You’ll be assigned a dedicated Trip Coordinator. They’ll guide you through the next steps and answer all your questions. They’ll also help you with the pesky visa. No guesswork – only the right paperwork, approved the first time, in your hands before you leave. 

Your Personal Travel Concierge will help with flights, insurance, and any add-ons you’d like for your trip. These are real humans too – no robots here. 

We maintain relationships with a huge network of screened and vetted partner organisations all over the world. We know they’re trustworthy and that you’re in good hands because of all the successful trips Global Travellers keep having with our partners. 

Our team is well travelled so you can rely on our experience. We’re with you every step of the way. 

Join 82000+ travellers – giving us 10000+ 4 & 5 star reviews – by choosing Global to make your travel dreams come true. 

Most travellers book their trip 6-12 months in advance. Dates are flexible, but spaces are limited. So if you’re serious about volunteering in Sri Lanka, don’t delay. 

With our Book Now, Decide Later feature, you can get started with a small deposit today, and take a full year to choose your dates. 

We’ll take over from there, helping you with visas, flights, accommodation, and setting you up with our partner in Sri Lanka. 

This is the trip for you if you’re after the ultimate volunteering experience in Sri Lanka, complete with everything you need and 24/7 support.

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Frequently asked questions

Why go with Global Work & Travel?

As the world’s leading gap-year and "work & travel" company, we provide a premium service for Global Travellers. Choose from a variety of awesome experiences worldwide. We assist with visas, pre-departure, flights, insurance, and tours. Our cool tech features support you throughout the journey. As a Global Traveller, access gWorld, our personalized app. Keep important documents and trip details handy. Enjoy exclusive Marketplace deals, a social network, language learning, side trips, meet-ups, and more. It's like all your favorite apps merged into one, but better! Our support doesn't stop there. With a 24/7 emergency team, 90+ staff, and ongoing assistance, we ensure you feel like a local. Join the 80,000+ Global Travellers who have turned their travel dreams into reality with us. We proudly boast the most & best reviews in the biz!

Are flights & insurance included?

While we would love to include flights and insurance in our trip packages, it is not feasible to have a fixed price due to the diverse destinations, trip durations, and individual coverage needs of our travellers from around the globe. However, once you register for the trip, we will assign you a dedicated Travel Concierge. They will work closely with you to arrange the ideal flights and insurance tailored to your specific adventure. Rest assured, our team is here to ensure you have a smooth and hassle-free travel experience from start to finish!

Why should I book now?

Covid-19 threw us a curve ball and pretty much halted all travel. This means that we have a backlog of travellers, just like you, who are desperate to get out and explore the world! Global Work & Travel works on a first-in-best-dressed basis. Booking earlier ensures that you don’t miss out on the best intake, season, placements and more! We recommend our travellers take 6-12 months to plan their trip for a reason - to make sure you’ve got everything organised perfectly, stress-free. As a Global Traveller you’ll get exclusive access to gWorld, our personalised app where you can keep all of your important documents and trip details in one spot and gain insider access to everything Global. This is where you will find exclusive Marketplace Deals, a unique social network to connect you with other like-minded Global Travellers, access to our Academy with an ever-growing range of skills & languages, and so much more. Think all of your favourite apps merged into one, but like, better? Why not give yourself something to look forward to by booking that trip!

Can I travel with a friend?

Yes you can! Simply tell your Trip Coordinator after booking that your friend is also going and they can link your profiles. For most of our trips we should be able to have you and your friends placed together or nearby. Meaning that you can live, work, play & travel together! But wait there's more! Not only can you travel the world with your besties at your side, you can also earn some extra cash towards your own trip just by referring your friends to Global Work & Travel. You can learn more about the great referral rewards program inside your gWorld account once you join. And for those who decide to go-it-solo, we’ve made it easier to meet other Global Travellers in the same region as you. Just like any other social platform, you’ll be able to interact, share, chat and meet with some really cool people who are doing trips just like you!

Can I bring my pet along?

At Global Work & Travel, we share a deep love for animals and fully understand the special bond you have with your pet. We recognise the challenges of embarking on a trip without them. Due to travel restrictions, requirements, and limited pet-friendly accommodations among our host organisations, we regretfully cannot facilitate their inclusion in the journey. However, many of our customers choose to entrust their pets to a family member or friend, embark on their adventure, and return home to wagging tails and furry cuddles.

What happens if I want to cancel my trip?

We know that life can get in the way of travel, so all our trips come with a great deal of flexibility. In most cases, if you cannot travel on your selected date, you can place your trip on hold to deal with whatever is holding you back, and continue in the future without incurring any penalty. You may also have the option of transferring to an entirely different trip and destination as well, or even transferring your trip to a friend or family member. In the event that you need to outright cancel your trip, if you give us 84* days notice you can do so with only a 50% cancellation fee. Your refund of the balance will come in the form of a Store Credit which you can put toward any other trip that we offer, including tours through third-party providers, as well as holidays through DealsAway.com, and is valid for 2 years from date of issue. As international travel can be complex, your options are based on the progress of your trip organisation and our support team can assist you in finding the best solution for your needs.

How it works

1. Choose a trip style

Find your dream experience & destination, then secure your spot with a flexible & low deposit. Activate your gWorld to unlock some cool perks. Well done! The hardest part’s over!

2. We become friends

Book a time to meet your dedicated Trip Coordinator who knows all the ins & outs of your trip. They’ll be by your side and working behind-the-scenes to pull everything together.

3. Time to go!

We’ll get your tickets, accommodation & transfers ready. Our in-country team or partner will have everything prepared & waiting for your arrival. Get on the plane with no worries!

4. 24/7 support

Never stress, knowing we’re there with you when you need us with ongoing & unlimited local team support and check-ins. And just in case, we’ve got an emergency team on stand-by, 24/7.

Still have questions?

Why go Global

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Worldwide support

Know that someone is always ready to assist throughout the journey & they’re only a call, tweet, comment, text or double tap away, 24/7.

We're the experts

With over 10 years in the industry and a team of over 90 passionate pros, you can bet we know our stuff better than anyone else.

Partner network

We have over 1,200 partners around the globe, so we have access to plenty of exclusive opportunities to make your trip the best it can be.

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