The Project Orange Elephant (POE) was established to encourage farmers to cultivate crops such as orange that are not attractive to elephants so they have an alternative income when elephants destroy their rice crop. Since they have a supplementary income the farmers will feel less hostile towards elephants for destroying their rice crop. The POE received a Most Innovative Development Project Award from the Global Development Network in June 2015. The visitors help POE farmers with planting orange plants, in plant care and management and to collect data on plant growth and survival. Guests also help to harvest oranges and sort them for marketing. The Elephants & Bees Project is another initiative we are conducting to provide farmers with an elephant deterrent while giving them the means to make an additional income from selling bee honey.
Through our SCIENCE Program, we are educating rural school children to value their environment and to become better stewards to take care of it. In addition, we get them to create butterfly gardens and organic gardens to increase local biodiversity. Recently we also established the world’s first EleFriendly Bus Service to provide safe transportation to school children that have to walk through an elephant corridor amidst elephants every day to school and back. You find more information about the EleBus at this link: http://www.slwcs.org/#!
Guests to our projects support these efforts as well as assist us in our ongoing efforts to address human-elephant conflicts for the conservation of the endangered Sri Lankan elephant. Through direct and indirect field observations guests help to gather information on elephants. Guests also visit villages that have been attacked by elephants to gather information on human-elephant conflicts. During these surveys, guests visit village homes to discuss with villagers the problems they have from elephants and what could be solutions to address these issues and concerns. In addition, guests will also get an opportunity to help collect data on leopards and other carnivores, monitor an alternative land use program, participate in an ongoing bird survey, help to collect data on small mammals and assist in our environmental education program.