Sri Lanka is home to many amazing creatures of all shapes and sizes, the largest on land, being the Asian Elephant. While they roam freely in the wild, there are instances when these gentle giants face situations of distraught.
Thankfully, elephant sanctuaries across the country provide refuge to orphaned calves and injured and elderly elephants. Two such sanctuaries that take the welfare of their lovable giant friends very seriously are The Elephant Freedom Project in Kegalle and Eth Athuru Sevana in Willpattu. Both sanctuaries seek to provide protection and rehabilitation with careful loving care.
Coupled together with the excitement of meeting these lovable elephants is responsible tourism and we at Walkers Tours, highly recommend visiting both the, Elephant Freedom Project and Eth Athuru Sevana for a unique experience that will add value to your holiday in this island paradise.
The Elephant Freedom Project in Kegalle
The Elephant Freedom Project is located in Randeniya, Hiruwadana in Kegalle and is just two hours from the Bandaranaike International Airport. The project which was started by two Dutch brothers and a Sri Lanka family began taking in elephants who have lived in dismal conditions since the year 2013.
One of their most popular tenants is Raja who has lived a very harsh life in the logging industry. The Elephant Freedom Project has been able to provide this 50 year old elephant with a loving home away from his abusive past.
Guests can bathe the elephants and go on gentle walks with them. The project is always on the lookout for volunteer’s kind enough to help in taking care of the elephants and ensuing their home is clean and safe.
Image credits The Elephant Freedom Project
Eth Athuru Sevana in Willpattu
Eth Athuru Sevana is Sri Lanka’s first rehabilitation centre and is located on 200 acres of land bordering the Udawalave National Park. Since its inception in 1998, the centre has been on the lookout for baby elephants that have been orphaned or have sustained injuries. The centre then houses the elephants and takes care of them until they are fit to return to the wild and live their lives in freedom.
Baby Namal who was found dehydrated and malnourished after being caught to a snare lives in Eth Athura Sevana permanently. While the staff at Eth Athuru Sevana have successfully nursed the baby elephant back to health, the injuries sustained from the snare had been too great and his foot had to be amputated. Namal now wears a brace made especially for him but lives a very happy life in his new home.
Interaction with these calves are kept to a minimum to ensure successful rehabilitation. Guests are however allowed to visit these baby elephants during feeding time and are encouraged to help with the feeding. Any contribution in the form of cash donations or supplying of milk powder is welcome and will help Eth Athuru Sevana with its efforts in helping these baby elephants.
Image credits Amazing Lanka