Dilmah Conservation Unveils First Elephant Education Center in Sri Lanka

The Human-Elephant conflict is a little known consequence of human development and expansion into elephant habitats in parts of Sri Lanka. An estimated 150 elephants are killed annually, caught in traps, or otherwise killed in their interaction with humans. Dilmah Conservation has partnered with the Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Ministry of the Environment to address this issue with the establishment of the Elephant Information Centre.

Young Asian Elephant Photo: Dilmah Conservation

Dilmah Conservation was established by Dilmah Tea in 2007 and serves as an extension of the company’s commitment to making its business a matter of human service. With the involvement and support of IUCN, Dilmah Conservation is working towards more sustainable and responsible human interaction with the environment. The company places an emphasis on protecting the Asian Elephant, encouraging bio-diversity and the cultivation of traditional medicinal herbs in a sustainable manner.

With the encouragement of the Ministry of the Environment of Sri Lanka and the support of the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC), Dilmah Conservation unveiled the Elephant Information Centre on 9th April 2009. The Centre is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, being a Resource Centre dedicated to Asian Elephants. Visitors to the centre will gain insight into the nature of the Asian Elephant, be able to compare it to its African counterpart and understand the need for its conservation.

At the centre’s opening ceremony, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources said that, “This centre is a gift from Dilmah not only to the park but also to future generations of this country as it is a centre of learning”.

The Elephant Information Centre is a part of the Elephant Transit Home in Uda Walawe, which was established in 1995 by the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWLC) with the objective of rehabilitating and reintroducing orphaned elephants back into the wild. Each year approximately 10-15 juvenile elephants are orphaned, either by separation from their herd or the death of their mother. The Elephant Transit Home currently has 40 juvenile elephants in its care and is internationally acclaimed for its methods. The orphaned elephants are held in a large, jungle environment and have minimal contact with humans in order to make their eventual release into the wild a success.

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