Volunteer with the Elephant Conservation Program in Sri Lanka (Pinnawala)

Do you want to travel to Pinnawala, Sri Lanka to work with elephants? Join Global Crossroad’s volunteer with the elephant conservation program in Sri Lanka today!

  • Rare opportunity to work up close and personally with the majestic elephants of Sri Lanka
  • Make a significant difference in the lives of rescued elephants for only $325 a week
  • Day and night in country support from our in country coordinator
  • Use you passion for animals and adventure to make a difference

Can you imagine working in the lush forest of Sri Lanka with elephants every day? Would you be interested in helping elephant experts prepare their food, bath them, and watch them play with other elephants? If yes, the volunteer with the elephant conservation program in Sri Lanka is for you!

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a breeding sanctuary for rescued, injured, and abused wild elephants. Established in 1976 by the Department of Wildlife Conservation, its primary focus was to provide care and protection to the many orphaned elephants found in the jungle. It was taken over in 1978 by the Department of National Zoological Gardens. There are now 78 living in the orphanage.

Pinnawala is noted for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. The orphanage conducts captive breeding of some of the elephants in its care. The first birth at Pinnawala was in 1984 with more than twenty-three elephants being born 1984-1991. Since then, there have been 84 births of elephants at the orphanage. Since June 2011, 12 elephants have been released to temples and private owners.

The orphanage has now become a very popular place to frequent both among the locals and the tourists. One of the favorite things to do there is to observe the bathing elephants from the broad river bank, watching them interact and play with each other. The orphanage is open to the public daily with the admission fees used to help look after the elephants. Join this unique volunteer with the elephant conservation opportunity in Sri Lanka for an experience of a lifetime!

You will be sharing a beautiful house in the rural area of Kegalle, Sri Lanka with other volunteers when volunteering overseas with the elephant conservation program in Sri Lanka. Comfortable rooms with ceiling fans and individual beds and a mosquito net for each volunteer are provided, though bathroom facilities are communal. You will have access to amenities such as a washing machine and a TV equipped with a DVD player.

Role of Volunteer

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage will have the volunteers help them in many different ways. Volunteering work with the elephant conservation program in Sri Lanka will begin at 8:30 in the morning and end roughly at 11:30 a.m. so volunteers can go for lunch. In the afternoon, volunteers have free time to relax. From 2-4, you can watch the elephants playing and bathing in the river, and can even help the mahouts wash the elephants with brushes made of coconut husks. There are also opportunities to work again after 4:00 p.m. with the private elephants in the Pinnawala Elephant Safari Center.

That being said, the main work will be conducted from 8:30-11:30 in the morning. Some of the tasks the volunteers will be involved with during these hours include:

  • Helping the mahouts (elephant handlers) in various tasks
  • Cleaning the sheds
  • Mucking out the elephant enclosures
  • Preparing milk for bottle feeding

We can assure you that you will not be overloaded with work when volunteering with the elephant conservation program in Sri Lanka, however, and will have plenty of time to sightsee and explore.

Skills and Qualifications Needed

There are no specific skills or qualifications needed to volunteer abroad with the elephant conservation program in Sri Lanka. We just ask you have a passion for working with the elephants and are willing to devote your time to helping the mahouts in whatever way possible.

All Volunteer programs in Sri Lanka start every Monday. However, Global Crossroad is very flexible and understands that various travel constraints that you might face.

All Volunteering work in Sri Lanka options are available year around, except at times programs like a Volunteer teaching English overseas program might be closed for various holidays and vacations. Also, some programs are seasonal due to extreme weather conditions. Between the project link and a Global Crossroad representative, all of this specific information regarding programs dates will be available to you. If a program is unavailable, we will provide an alternative program for you to join.

Prices: Volunteer in Sri Lanka

Global Crossroad is committed to offering the most affordable and highest quality Sri Lanka Volunteer trips. We strive to keep our costs low. The humanitarian side of the business is our passion.

Global Crossroad's Volunteer opportunity in Sri Lanka application and registration fee cost US $299. The application fee covers the cost of advertising, program promotion, and office expenses (rent, utilities, and staff salaries in USA office).

In addition to the application fee, you are required to pay a weekly program fee. You will pay your weekly fee directly to your host family and project. This way, the fees that you pay will benefit those who rightfully deserve them, and not for company profit.

Duration Projects in Galle Medical Project Kegalle Elephant Pinnewala Elephant
  1 Week   $155   $310   $335   $325
  2 Weeks   $310   $510   $620   $600
  3 Weeks   $415   $710   $905   $875
  4 Weeks   $520   $910   $1,190   $1,150
  5 Weeks   $625   $1110   $1,475   $1,425
  6 Weeks   $730   $1310   $1,760   $1,700
  7 Weeks   $835   $1510   $2,045   $1,975
  8 Weeks   $940   $1710   $2,330   $2,250
  9 Weeks   $1,045   $1910   $2,615   $2,525
  10 Weeks   $1,150   $2110   $2,900   $2,800
  11 Weeks   $1,255   $2310   $3,185   $3,075
  12 Weeks   $1,360   $2510   $3,470   $3,350
  • Airport Pickup and Transfer to Galle (2 hours)- $85
  • Airport Pickup and Transfer to Kegalle (80 KM) - $90
  • Airport Pickup and Transfer to Pinnawala (80 KM) - $125
  • Transfer from Galle to Kegalle or vice versa (3 hours) - $125
  • Language and Culture - $250
  • Mandatory comprehensive travel insurance $3.49 a day »
Program fees cover:
  • Accommodation (volunteers house or host family)
  • Food (local food 3 times day)
  • In-country support
  • Personalized project
  • Pre-departure information
  • Certificate of completion
  • Fundraising ideas and letters
  • Discount for returning volunteers
Program fees exclude:
  • Visas
  • Airfare
  • Personal expenses on soft drinks and foods
  • Daily transportation
  • Airport return transfer

How your fee is allocated?

The Volunteering programs in Sri Lanka fees will cover expenses that will begin on the first day of the program (usually the first or third Monday of the month) to the last day of the program. If you arrive before the first day of the program or you decide you stay beyond your program’s last day, you will be responsible for the additional expenses, which would typically be around $30 a day for room and meals at a hostel.