The wild elephants of Sri Lanka are intertwined with the nation’s ecology, culture, and religion and predate human inhabitants on the island by thousands of years. The verdant landscape of dense forests, grassy wetlands and steep mountains have provided abundant resources throughout their historical migration paths. With the rapid expansion of human population over the past two centuries, the elephants’ natural habitat has been altered and reduced dramatically, with only about 11% of the natural wetlands remaining and the free ranging elephant population estimated at under 5000.

Here are a few of the conservation projects that elephantea supports:

The Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS) is a US-based, nonprofit organization committed to developing a sustainable model for wildlife conservation in Sri Lanka. Our focus is on helping people, elephants and other wildlife co-exist peacefully. Our unique, award- winning conservation model brings people together to identify and solve human-elephant conflicts through scientific field research, applied conservation programs and sustainable economic development. The elephantea team comes from a long line of Sri Lankan tea growers and elephant activists, so the partnership with this dedicated organization is a natural fit, says Ravi Corea, founder and president of the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society. We are so thankful for their generous support.

Before the EleFriendly Bus arrived, children risked their lives every day walking to and from school in the Wasgamuwa National Park, as the road runs through a natural elephant corridor. Tragically, human-elephant conflicts result in the deaths of more than 80 people and 200 elephants each year in Sri Lanka.

Since launching our EleFriendly Bus in 2016, daily school attendance is way up. Local farmers are able to spend more time earning income tending their gardens, free from the daily burden of patrolling the corridor to keep their children safe. Sri Lanka’s children are learning to love rather than fear elephants, and wild elephants are free to safely roam their ancient elephant corridor!

As Sri Lanka’s rural populations continue to grow and encroach into wildlife habitat, the interface between elephants and people grows increasingly diffused. Competition for adequate space for agriculture and other forms of human development creates deadly situations for both humans and elephants.

SLWCS builds and maintains solar-powered electrical fencing to help keep elephants from raiding farmers precious food crops. But that doesn’t always stop them. For more than a decade, SLWCS has been providing local communities with citrus trees to create a barrier around their rice and vegetable crops (elephants do not like citrus fruits so it is a perfect buffer crop!) The trees also provide farmers with new cash crops, including oranges and limes.

The EleVETS project enables our team of elephant experts to work hand-in-hand with Sri Lanka’s practicing veterinarians and elephant owners to bring about sustainable improvements in the health, care,and management of captive elephants.

Increasing the number of trained elephant veterinarians throughout Sri Lanka through EleVETS will also benefit wild elephants that are injured, sick or trapped and in need of emergency medical intervention. Too often these animals die from lack of timely professional care…especially in remote regions of the country.

New Life Elephant Sanctuary will be the first refuge in Sri Lanka for captive elephants.

NLES will provide high quality veterinary care and shelter to Sri Lanka’s working elephants (young and old) who have spent their lives shackled in chains, abused and exploited for work and tourism. For many captive elephants in Sri Lanka lifelong pain, suffering and deprivation are all they have ever known. Elephants living at NLES will have the opportunity to ‘just be elephants’ …most for the first time in their lives.