Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

Ecotourism & Conservation
in Sri Lanka

Traveler at Galle Fort © Amit Sankhala

By traveling with Cheesemans’ to Sri Lanka, you can feel confident that your tourism dollars support a local operator who takes active steps to protect the environment through eco-conscious practices. From using electric vehicles whenever possible to providing BPA-free water bottles refilled by large recyclable water cans, our Sri Lankan team holds themselves accountable for best business practices which include keeping their profits within the country through hiring practices as well as through the selection of local suppliers who share and act on a like mindset.

Representing the best of Sri Lanka’s ecotourism industry, our local operator sees the necessity for local people to directly benefit from travel to their country, and they, therefore, continually implement and support community projects.  They have learned that projects aimed at helping humans and wildlife separately are less successful than initiatives that simultaneously benefit both because community involvement, ownership, and investment are keys to sustainable practices.

One example, a partnership with All for Nature and Sri Lanka Wilderness Foundation, mitigates human-elephant conflict by providing jobs for local people in water projects that sustain villages and elephants. In addition, they hire local people to be watchmen in towers built by the government. This greatly reduces pillaging by elephants.

The Yala Leopard Project is another example. They use an AI database to identify leopards and maintain records of their behavior, injuries, and other valuable information. The Yala Leopard Project also educates the public about the latest leopard news through social media and conducts awareness programs nationwide. In addition to collecting valuable data, the project fosters a sense of connection to the leopards, which leads to a stronger desire to protect them.

The investment of time and resources into local schools instills a sense of pride and responsibility in making deliberate efforts to protect wildlife. This also develops a workforce ready to step up and continue to implement conservation efforts in the future.

Udawalawe Elephant Transit © Amit Sankhala

How Can You Make A Difference?

How You Can Actively Contribute


  • Keep an eBird list for each outing – you don’t need to track EVERY bird you see. See our Reading and Resource List for more details.
  • Take GPS-referenced wildlife and nature photos, and upload to iNaturalist. See our Reading and Resource List for more details.


  • Give a talk about your experience to a local wildlife or nature group or host a virtual webinar to reach a much wider audience!
  • Post your experiences on social media so others can learn more.
  • Submit a written, video, or audio testimonial for Cheesemans’ to share with future travelers.
Acting Locally


  • Support local vendors if you buy memorabilia to take home.
  • Travel in small group sizes to limit the impact on the environment and wildlife.
  • Use the reusable water bottle provided by the operator to refill rather than accepting plastic bottles.
  • Ask for the lodging to not replace your towels or bedding during multiple night stays.
  • Turn off lights and fans when leaving your room.
  • Bring biodegradable soap to save waterways. This can also help minimize plastic bottle waste by reducing the number of bottles hotels provide (although many hotels are switching to dispensers in the bathrooms).

Organizations You Can Support

Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society – SLWCS protects Sri Lanka’s endangered wildlife, particularly elephants, through research and community involvement. By collaborating with local communities, they address various environmental, social, and economic challenges impacting both people and wildlife. Through grassroots engagement and capacity-building initiatives, they empower citizens to contribute actively to long-term conservation efforts, ensuring the well-being of communities and diverse wildlife populations.

Yala Leopard Project – This project supports leopard conservation in Yala National Park and other national parks across Sri Lanka by employing an AI database to identify individual leopards and maintain detailed records of their behavior, injuries, and other significant data. Additionally, the project disseminates this information to the public via social media and runs awareness programs nationwide. Through these efforts, the Leopard Diary project educates and engages the community in leopard conservation.