Volunteering with Elephants in Sri Lanka

Elephants are one of the most intelligent and social species in the animal kingdom.  Unfortunately, they’re also subjected to abuse and poaching, resulting in quickly diminishing numbers.  Volunteering with elephants in Sri Lanka gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal with these giants in a humane and ethical manner.  You’ll help our partner organization care for these beautiful creatures and promote their ethical treatment around the globe.

Volunteering with Elephants in Sri Lanka

Volunteering with elephants in Sri Lanka is a (as cliché as it sounds) once-in-a-lifetime experience.  You’ll perform the basic (i.e. unexciting) tasks of cleaning out the carports where the elephants sleep at night and cutting down branches in the forest for the elephants to eat.  The fun kicks in when you get to work directly with a mahout (traditional native elephant handler) to feed and bathe the elephants!

Our partner, like GOAT Volunteers, is strictly against the abuse elephants often suffer in Sri Lanka (as in other countries).  They identified issues with their initial elephant project and immediately pulled support from it and now support an ethical program that cares for a number of rescued pachyderms.

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Room & Board

All projects in Sri Lanka are based out of a basic hotel rooms based in the city or village in which the project is located.  Local transportation to/from the project site is included.

  • Shared, single-sex hotel rooms (max 3 volunteers) with en suite washrooms and air conditioning
  • Tap water in Sri Lanka is not drinkable, but filtered water is provided
  • 3 meals per day provided at the hotel
  • WiFi is not typically available in the hotels, so volunteers are encouraged to acquire a local SIM card (assuming they possess an unlocked/international phone) if they wish to have internet access


As with all GOAT Volunteer projects, there are 2 primary fees associated with volunteering: the application fee paid to GOAT and the project fee paid directly to the NGO after they accept your application.

1 week$350
2 weeks$700
4 weeks$1,400
Prices for projects in Sri Lanka are in US dollars; please check the current exchange rate for costs in your local currency (www.xe.com).

Included: Airport pick-up (unless otherwise stated) • Location orientation • Shared accommodations in local hotels (usually not more than 3 per room) • 3 meals per day • Project training • Project donation • 24/7 emergency phone & in-country support

NOT Included: Flights • Visas • Vaccinations • Travel insurance • Personal expenses • Bank/wire transfer fees

For custom lengths of stay not listed, please contact us for pricing.


GOAT Volunteers occasionally offers discounted application fees, so follow us on social media to find out when these savings are available!

Trip Add-ons

Volunteers participating in all projects in Sri Lanka have the opportunity to take advantage of island life and earn an additional PADI Open Water Diver certification.  The course can be added to the week before or after a volunteering project.  Click the button below for more information.

PADI Certification

 Special Considerations | Volunteering with Elephants in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

For special considerations regarding projects in Sri Lanka, please visit the Sri Lanka page.

Elephant Safety

Volunteering with elephants in Sri Lanka requires individuals to understand and accept the risks associated with working with these large, wild animals.  The elephants are rescued, but that does not mean they are fully domesticated.  Volunteers must abide by all rules and regulations put forth by the local organization while on this project.  Also, basic common sense and situational awareness need to be adhered to at all times.

Elephant Riding

Riding elephants may seem fun, but in actuality it is an activity steeped in abuse and is not supported by GOAT Volunteers and our partners.  Volunteers who ride elephants with any external organization while participating in a GOAT Volunteers project will be removed from the project immediately, no refunds will be issued, and no further support will be provided.

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