Owned by the DWLC, or the Department of Wild Life Conservation, the Elephant Transit Home was established in 1995 as a part of the Uda Walawe National Park with the primary motive of rehabilitating orphaned calves of elephants, and ultimately releasing them back to the wild.
The Transit Home is situated at about 170km southeast of Colombo. With funding from the UK’s Born Free Federation, the Transit Home was opened in 2003.
Uda Walawe Elephant Transit Home Background
One of the most endangered species of mammals in today’s world is the Sri Lankan subspecies of the Asian elephant. With the degradation and shrinkage of its habitat and increasing numerous elephant-human conflicts, the fear of extinction was ever growing. It was then that the Department of Wild Life Conservation decided to establish an Elephant Transit Home (ETH) for abandoned and orphaned baby elephants, providing them food, shelter and medical care.
The DWLC also improved the facilities pertaining to the ETH, by seeking assistance from the public and private sectors. Thus the transit home came into being, and presently, 31 destitute elephant calves are being taken care of, with the objective of liberating them to the wild, once they are strong enough to adjust to their surroundings.
Only specially trained staff members are allowed to take care of the calves, so as to avoid any unwanted contact between humans and the elephants. Visitors’ entry is permitted, and they are allowed to watch the elephants being fed, but are prohibited from any kind of interaction or direct contact. Willing individuals are requested to make a generous contribution, as the cost associated with raising an infant calf into an adult is quite high.