Born Free USA Global Field Projects
(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.
Usually under 1 year of age when they are rescued, these calves would not survive without their mothers, and without a facility such as the ETH they would almost certainly spend their lives in captivity (if they could be kept alive).
Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation support the ETH by providing vehicles, buildings, equipment and other resources.
Since releases began in 1998 more than 60 elephants have been returned to the wild. The ETH is the only permanent facility in Asia conducting such a rehabilitation and release program, and the only government-run program of its sort in the world.
Support from Born Free USA not only helps improve facilities and make the annual budget go that bit further, but it also sends an important message of international recognition and encouragement for this visionary project and the dedicated, compassionate people who run it.
In 2008 we held a symposium on elephant conservation and welfare issues, and shortly after this we took on Dr. Deepani Jayantha as our Country Representative. Since then we have stepped up our activity on Human Elephant Conflict mitigation projects as well as other activities.