The Great Elephant Project

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Program Description

The project is developed in association with the SLWCS (Sri Lankan Wildlife Conservation Society) – the first organisation established outside of Sri Lanka with the sole purpose of conserving the country’s dwindling biodiversity. You will assist in implementing sustainable land use initiatives using GPS and GIS techniques to develop conservation strategies to help conserve elephants and other wildlife and their habitats in the Central and North Central Provinces of Sri Lanka. Join the ‘Great Elephant Project’ in Sri Lanka’s stunning Wasgamuwa National Park, to help participate in ecological research on elephants, to assess human elephant conflicts as well as engaging in biodiversity mapping using surveying techniques, community integrated human elephant conflict resolution and sustainable rural livelihood development.

Highlights

Here are potential responsibilities:

Elephant & Human Elephant Conflict Observations: This is the signature activity that volunteer will be involved with during their time here. Volunteers will spend their afternoons and at least one evening in a tree hut located inside an elephant corridor. The purpose of this is to collect data on the spatial and temporal distribution of passing elephants and observe how villagers and elephants interact, as both factions use the area.

Elephant ID in Wasgamuwa: The team will spend a session at the Weheragala Tank looking for elephants and then observing and photographing them. Elephant Identification Data sheets will be filled by observing different physical features of individual elephants. The aim of the elephant ID is to build up a catalogue of individuals as a basis for numbers, social organization and movement inside/outside the Park. As you observe elephants you will be able to observe other wildlife present (the lucky few may spot elusive leopards and sloth bears), as well as different types of vegetation and their importance within the park. Please note that due to time constraints, volunteers on the two week project may not be able to carry this activity out.

Community-based Sustainable Land use and Livelihood Project Monitoring: Agriculture is one of the main contributing factors in human versus elephant conflicts. This project has established several sustainable land use and livelihood projects with local communities to develop agriculturally based measures that are compatible with the elephants. You will learn how important the involvement of communities is for sustainable conservation. You will help to monitor and evaluate innovative landscape management systems designed by the SLWCS to help buffer communities from elephant raids.

Tank Monitoring: The team will check around water tanks (irrigation reservoirs) situated outside the National Park for the presence of elephant dung. The aim of this is to find out whether there are single males and/or herds present outside the National Park, what their patterns of dispersion might be, and what kind of food source they eat.

Electric Fence Monitoring: This process enables volunteers and SLWCS Staff to see can go wrong with the fences so that their design and management can be improved. Each team will check the state of the solar powered electric fences, which have been erected to stop elephants from entering villages. Once checked, the status of their conditions will then be relayed to the local fence committees, who maintain and operate the fences.

Trail Transects: The team will spend a session walking along a trail and recording dung found alongside the trail. The aim of the trail transect is to investigate elephant abundance outside the park, seasonal variation of abundance and habitat preference.

Qualifications

No qualifications or special skills are required - just a willingness to get involved with all activities and a minimum age of 18 are required.

Volunteer Types

What`s Included

• A contribution to the project
• Transfers between sites
• All project activities
• Full orientation and support from the project managers
• Accommodation and meals

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Program Locations

Wasgamuwa, Sri Lanka

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Program Details

Provider:
The Great Projects
Location
  • Sri Lanka: Wasgamuwa
Terms:
Throughout the year
Program Duration:
1-2 weeks, 1-3 months
Languages:
English
Participants:
American, Asian, Australian, Canadian, European, Kiwi, South African, Worldwide
Cost:
From £895.00

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