WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?
Before the large scale destruction of Sri Lanka's previously flourishing forests, leopards existed successfully across the island. However a combination of significant factors, such as poaching for fur and habitat destruction, as well as persecution by local communities, has resulted in their steady decline. Although leopards are highly adaptable and able to live close to human settlements, elephants are not, and their population levels have continued to fall at a worrying rate. Years of civil unrest in the country have largely hampered conservation efforts, particularly in the country's national parks and other regions. There is an agreement amongst researchers and conservationists that more data must be collected in order to instigate effective protective measures, which is why this programme is ultimately so essential and relevant. Join this project and help ensure a brighter future for these wonderful creatures.
WHAT WILL I BE DOING?
The work that you will be carrying out on this project is highly varied. You will be participating in activities that represent efforts to discover more about the behaviour of elephants and leopards, in order to protect them more effectively. You will have the chance to monitor and investigate their movements using various methods, surveying tracks and liaising with local people. All of these tasks will be carried out in the dramatic forest environment of this exotic region of Sri Lanka.
Work programmes are flexible and detailed project schedules are agreed with the research coordinator on arrival.
Volunteers should be prepared for the heat and humidity of tropical jungles and be willing to walk up to 15km per day. You will be trained in the skills you need to conduct the fieldwork. The project staff will prepare each group for their fieldwork. They will explain to you the research methods and the goals of the research.
You will be in teams of up to 9 volunteers plus staff. Your activities broadly fall into two categories: Elephant Research and Leopard and Biodiversity Research. They will range from tank and fence monitoring to transect work to elephant damage surveys to data entry, from wildlife observations and birding to working on the leopard project. We endeavour to make sure that every team member participates in each research activity at least once. In many cases you will be travelling to remote sites for these activities.
A typical daily itinerary may consist of early morning bird surveying before breakfast, followed by elephant and leopard transects out in the jungle before returning to the security of our stationary observation posts as darkness falls.
You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages and experiences, with members who all share a passion about travelling in developing countries and saving endangered life. Your staff will be young, friendly individuals who are highly experienced in their field.