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Elephant Volunteer Project

Project Summary

Do you want to work with elephants every single day; helping them, feeding them, and making sure they remain healthy? If so, volunteering for IFRE's elephant volunteer project may be just the thing for you!

Work in the beautiful Sri Lanka at the most popular tourist attraction, the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. This orphanage is a breeding sanctuary for rescued, injured, and abused wild elephants. It was established by the Department of Wildlife Conservation in 1976 with a focus of providing care and protection to the many orphaned elephants found in the jungle. Taken over in 1978 by the Department of National Zoological Gardens, there are now 84 elephants in a developed breeding program.

Come see what Sri Lanka has to offer while learning how to help take care of these amazing animals!

sri lanka project gallery

Skills/Qualifications Needed

No specific qualifications or skills required. We just ask that you have a passion for working with elephants and will be willing to contribute in whatever way possible to ensure they remain healthy and safe at all times.

Volunteer Responsibilities

Volunteers will work at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage from 8:30-11:30 a.m. They will head to the house at 11:30 to enjoy lunch with the other volunteers. In the afternoon, volunteers will enjoy relaxing free time, although there is an opportunity to work again at 4:00 p.m. While at the orphanage, volunteers will help the mahouts, or elephant handlers, in various tasks. They will help with cleaning the sheds, mucking out the elephant enclosures, preparing milk for bottle feeding. Volunteers will also help the mahouts by brushing the elephants and working with the private elephants in the Pinnawala Elephant Safari Center after 4:00 p.m.

Room/Food/Daily Life

Volunteers will share a house in a rural community. The house features comfortable rooms, each equipped with a ceiling fan. Individual beds will be in the rooms with a mosquito net for each. Volunteers share communal restroom facilities. Washing machines and a TV with a DVD player will also be provided in the house.

Volunteers will eat three locally prepared meals per day. These meals are made by a live-in chef and incorporate many Sri Lankan favorites. Their staple food, rice, will be cooked often with vegetable or fish-based curry. All meals are cooked with coconut milk and tend to be spicy. If you have a spice intolerance, we would suggest you talk to the chef prior to cooking so they can help accommodate for this.

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