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Projects in Sri Lanka

Elephant Transit Home

Vanessa Gagne

Celebrating 20 years returning elephants to the wild

Over the past two decades the ETH has been able to release 99 elephant orphans.  They are released in groups of 4-8 after rehabilitation and integration into the EHT herd.  From those 99 releases only 7 have died and 15 babies have been born.  So how does an elephant become an orphan?  Unfortunately the answer lies with human-elephant conflict.  Mothers are killed for crop raiding or are killed by accident in electrocutions and train accidents.  Almost all of the orphans arrive in very poor condition with ailments ranging from dehydration to severe parasitic infestation and even congenital defects.  That being said there have been many losses over the years.   

Mother receiving fluids with calf at her side

Mother receiving fluids with calf at her side

Group play activities

Group play activities

When the orphans first arrive they are immediately given medical treatment to assess their condition.  They are given milk and whatever other nutrition they require to be brought back to homeostasis.  From there the new herd members are introduced to the already established herd and begin to participate in activities with the other kiddos such as swimming, grazing, and mud wallowing.     What is very special about this program is it is the only one of its kind with years of data to track their successes in an Asian elephant range country.  The number of elephants in Sri Lanka is just over 6,000, with about 250 living in human care.   The EHT has seen and experienced so much over the years and will continue to work to save orphan elephants.  

Calves receiving milk

Calves receiving milk

Post release

Post release

We at AES look forward to the continued success of the EHT and are very thankful to have the opportunity to support such a dedicated group of people.  Thank you, Dr. B. Vijitha Perera, Suhada Jayawardena, Neshma Kumudini, Tharaka Prasad, Department of Wildlife Conservation Sri Lanka, et. al. for the amazing work you are doing in Sri Lanka.