Elephant Conservation Program in Tropical Sri Lanka

Kandy, Sri Lanka

48 People are researching this program

Volunteering Journeys

(67 Reviews)
  • From $1199 USD for 2 Weeks

  • 2 - 12 Weeks

  • Select Start Dates

  • 18 to 80 years old



This project offers volunteers a rare opportunity to work alongside local conservationists, educators, community partners and local villagers deep in the heart of the Sri Lankan wilderness. This is a true conservation project where wild elephants are not touched or interfered with at all as they are in their natural habitat. It is a genuine research-based project involving elephant and predator tracking, monitoring, observations, and education to the local communities, including running campaigns and awareness programs. Wild elephants (and other wildlife) are under threat in this part of the country particularly because of heightened levels of human-elephant conflict created in recent times due to a range of issues. They catch diseases when coming into contact with domestic cattle, which are released to the park's grasslands by neighboring villagers and farmers. Wild animals, particularly elephants, have to compete with these cattle since they have occupied their grazing lands and water pools. Illegal logging is a major threat and preventing it has been a difficult issue. Elephants damage the properties of the villagers and fatal attacks on them have been reported from the park. Additionally, environmentalists have raised concern over the resettlement of displaced people from the construction of the nearby Moragahakanda reservoir. This has further resulted in escalating human-elephant-human conflict in the region.

Arrival and Orientation

Start date is Sunday. Participants are picked up from Colombo airport on Sunday and stay overnight in central Colombo to refresh, eat food and rest for a night. The next morning our staff picks you up at 6 AM and transports you to the train station, where you will take the train from Colombo to Kandy followed by a bus from Kandy to Wasgamuwa (the whole journey takes 5-6 hours). On arrival, the local project team greets you and takes you to the field house (where the volunteers live). Training and orientation is conducted that evening and project activities begin the next morning.


Volunteers stay in a field house, which is located on a scenic hill overlooking a lake and mountain range. The house is just 15 minutes from the Wasgamuwa National Park. The accommodation is basic with dorm-style beds (with mosquito netting) and shared bathrooms.

Field Conditions

Participants work for 4-6 hours each day Mon-Fri in 2 shifts of 2-3 hours each, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon. Typical activities staff and volunteers perform on a daily basis include:

-Gather information on elephants and other wildlife and tropical ecosystems, often watching them from strategically placed treehouses

-Collect essential environmental and socio-economic data and maintain log books to help develop community-based conservation programs

-Participate in discussions with local villagers to help identify practical solutions to human-elephant conflicts

-Observe, assess and document human-elephant conflicts

-Teach environmental education to local school children from time to time

-Build and mend fencing to protect agricultural crops and homes from damage by wild elephants

Your Impact

Volunteers will be making a huge contribution to research and conservation of Asian Elephants. Unlike a elephant sanctuary or home this is real conservation where you do NOT touch animals. This award winning conservation project is voted as one of the top 10 conservation projects in the world and you will not be disappointed!


Kandy, Sri Lanka
  • Where you will be volunteering
    Wasgamuwa National Park

    This program has a lot of field work.

  • Where you'll be staying
    Wasgamuwa National Park

    The accommodation is located directly in Wasgamuwa National Park

  • Nearest Airport
    Katunayake International Airport (CMB), Gampaha, Sri Lanka


<p>Travel insurance is mandatory for this trip (not included as part of program fees).</p>

2 Weeks
12 Weeks
2 Weeks

$1199 USD

What’s Included

  • All meals

  • Transportation to and from project site

  • Training and support

  • Airport dropoff

  • Airport pickup

  • Housing

What’s Not Included

  • Travel insurance

  • Air Tickets

Project Start Dates


Volunteering Journeys is a social enterprise that provides the global youth of today with responsible and experiential travel opportunities through sustainable and impactful volunteer programs in the areas of education, healthcare and marine & animal conservation. Our two marquee locations are Galle, Sri Lanka and Kerala, India - both tropical destinations known for their raw beauty, deep culture/history and hospitable people. What separates us from others is our global mindset, local knowhow and ability to deliver wonderful experiences to our young travellers. We are ground operators and offer truly authentic projects be it hospital placements for medical/nursing students, working with special needs communities, women's empowerment, teaching english to children or Buddhist monks, or working on serious elephant, dog care or sea-turtle conservation projects. We also offer unique adventure & sightseeing tours in these locations, which can be done on a standalone basis or combined with any of our volunteering programs. All our programs are created and managed with the goal of enhancing young travellers' learning and having fun, whilst providing sustainable development and aid to the communities we serve.

Reviews (67)


Dec 31, 2017

I'm a medical student from Germany and I spent four weeks in Kerala. The staff were very helpful and warm. On the first day we got a tour of the surrounding area and the staff helped us plan for the weekends as well. I spent the majority of my ... +more


Nov 17, 2017

Had a great time in Nepal. I really enjoyed my placement at the hospital and felt like I really experienced culture in Nepal


Nov 16, 2017

VJs was very supportive and organised. If we needed help with anything, hospital related or otherwise, they would always have a friendly face and research it for us and give us the information as soon as they could.

The orientation was very helpful and informative for cultural immersion.

Hospital took ...

Angela Au

Nov 15, 2017

I'm a medical student from Australia doing a medical elective with Volunteering Journeys in Kathmandu. The level of support from Volunteering Journeys is great. Although I was mainly at the hospital, I also had the chance to do community work at a school. They give you a free tour ... +more

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