Born Free USA Global Field Projects
Recognizing the ongoing threat Asian elephants face due to conflict with humans, the Born Free Foundation has been working with communities in Rathambalagama, an area in the south of Sri Lanka’s bordering Udawalawa National Park since 2008.
(Taken from the Born Free Foundation’s website.)
Having worked at the Elephant Transit Home, Udawalawa in Sri Lanka and studied the released animals there, in 2008 Dr Deepani Jayantha became Born Free’s Country Representative.
Sri Lanka is a relatively small country (about the size of the Republic of Ireland) with high human population densities and a very significant elephant population (estimated at around 4,000 or more). While there is a good network of national parks and protected areas, many of the elephants spend a significant amount of time outside these zones, and conflict with rural communities is common.
The young elephants who come to the Elephant Transit Home become separated from their mothers for various reasons, but almost all involve human intervention, often when farmers chase herds away from their crops, or when the babies fall into waterlogged gem mine pits they are trying to drink from.
(Photograph by Born Free Foundation)
The Elephant Transit Home (ETH) in Udawalawe, Sri Lanka, was established in 1996 by the country’s Department of Wildlife Conservation. Young elephants from around Sri Lanka who have become separated from their mothers are brought here, where they are treated for injuries or infections, cared for until weaning age, and then released back to the wild in a national park.