Take the opportunity of a lifetime working closely with majestic elephants in the beautiful setting of Sri Lanka! Such a privilege to spend time during your gap year volunteering to assist in the care of the beautiful creatures. Elephant conservation is a priority of the Sri Lankan authorities due to their natural and cultural significance within the country. They are dedicated to promoting the health and survival of all elephants whether domesticated or living in the wild. As a participant on the project, you will contribute to the work of the mahouts (elephant handlers) as they strive to ensure that the elephants live as natural a life as possible. The sense of well being you will have from ensuring these animals are well looked after will be immeasurable. You will gain a wealth of experience from assisting the mahouts with their daily routines of care and interaction. You will take part in feeding the elephants, cleaning them at the river and ensuring their enclosures are kept clean. It is also likely that you will assist with finding foods in the forest and helping veterinary practitioners to treat the elephants if they fall ill.
You can expect your days to be active and varied, consisting of tasks that meet the elephants’ needs. Each day will begin early and you will carry out essential but enjoyable feeding and cleaning activities with the elephants, including cleaning the elephant enclosures. Bath time for the elephants takes place at the river and you’re guaranteed to have fun as the elephants enjoy playing in the water. Mahouts encourage you to take part in the fun with the elephants so you’re guaranteed a soaking from their powerful trunks! Before the elephants eat, you need to prepare their meal of Kithul logs and other types of branches which you’ll help to cut. Weighing between 3 and 4 tons, elephants are capable of eating around 250 to 350 kilograms of food each day. While they’re satisfying their hunger, you’ll have time to relax and find refreshments for yourself. In the afternoon and late evening, you’ll have a chance to bond with individual elephants as they are cared for by their specifically assigned mahout. During your free time you will have the opportunity to go on free excursions to local attractions.