Family volunteering with elephants in Sri Lanka

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Family volunteering with elephants in Sri Lanka

Environment

Our placements are designed to immerse you in a different culture, living and working with local people. There’s plenty to gain personally from this. But we make sure that local people benefit too by choosing projects that bring tangible improvements to their lives.

The importance of the project:
Asian elephant numbers have been falling dramatically for the last 100 years, in part due to human-elephant conflict. This project is the first participatory, community-based, elephant research and conflict resolution project in the world. Tracking takes place from a distance and volunteers are instructed on the safe and responsible ways of viewing/recording elephants in the wild.

Caring for the environment:
We send out comprehensive pre-departure briefing, which includes a section on protecting the local environment. In particular we advise participants to take care with water, which is scarce in many of our destinations. We recommend they avoid unnecessary washing, using hand wash gel where they can. We also instruct them on how to dispose of waste properly, not to litter and, where possible, to avoid using plastic water bottles which are not easy to dispose of environmentally. Those going trekking are advised to keep to marked footpaths so as to prevent further erosion of the landscape.

Our company is an environmentally responsible one that operates recycling and reusing of waste products. We also offset carbon emissions in our office (gas, electricity, business mileage) and encourage all participants to offset their flight emissions via a carbon offset scheme run in conjunction with Tree Aid. This project strives to adhere to the strict Responsible Travel policy, and has been developed so that it addresses actual local needs and has the community’s needs at its heart. Understanding and respecting the host community is paramount to the success of any project as long term commitment, support and adoption of sound environment, economic and social practices. This project employs as many local people possible, making it sustainable socially as well as environmentally.

Community

Meeting local needs:
As well as helping to protect elephants and other animals, this project is mainly focussed on helping to improve human - elephant conflict issues. Elephants, traditionally able to roam where they pleased through the wild, are now having to forage for food in fields and homes. Locals find this hard to live alongside, and this project strives to understand more about the elephants' behaviour so that more farms will be protected. Projects to put elephants off going into farmland are completed, such as planting orange trees around field boundaries to protect crops- elephants hate oranges!

Cultural sensitivity:
We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. Participants will work alongside permanent staff, forming close bonds and getting an insight into real life in rural Sri Lanka. Our policy is to send people to the developing world in small groups or individually. This minimises the environmental and social impact that the participants have on the destination and helps them to integrate into the local community.

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