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Title: Ele Transit Home. UW Research Project.
Description: Uda Walawe, Sri Lanka

spiritedlulu - August 31, 2011 02:23 AM (GMT)
Original post by S4E 20 Oct 2010:

Short video of the work of the Elephant Transit Home, which has support from Born Free UK:

Sri Lanka's dwindling elephant herd

spiritedlulu - November 15, 2011 10:53 PM (GMT)
The Uda Walawe Elephant Research Project is the first-ever long-term study of Asian elephants in the wild. Asian elephants are classified as ‘endangered’ under the IUCN Red List, with their number one threat being loss of habitat. This is especially acute in the island nation of Sri Lanka, where elephants are increasingly in conflict with the growing human population.

Space4Eles - February 6, 2012 10:24 AM (GMT)
Eth Athuru Sevana of Udawalawa:
First rehabilitation centre in Asia for elephants

The success of such a centre depends on how it releases animals and how far it can monitor the released animals in the jungle.

The elephants released by Eth Athuru Sevana have been better capable of adjusting themselves to the new surrounding in the jungle and they do not depend on man's help as they had done earlier.

The released elephants are either living in separate groups or have joined groups of wild elephants in the park.

Space4Eles - May 24, 2012 07:08 PM (GMT)
For UK residents:


Late last year Born Free assisted popular TV presenter Simon Reeve on a trip to the Elephant Transit Home in Sri Lanka for his acclaimed new series Indian Ocean. The episode featuring his visit will air on BBC2 on Sunday 27th May, so Simon was kind enough to give us an interview about the new series, his time in Sri Lanka and why we all have to love wildlife!

Space4Eles - May 28, 2012 04:29 PM (GMT)
"Indian Ocean" was screened on BBC TV last night. I do hope this episode is available outside the UK - it is well worth watching.

Simon Reeve was in south Sri Lanka, looking at Chinese investment for a new port - Hambantota.
He visited the Elephant Transit Home at Udawalawe, talked with Deepani Jayantha and met bushmeat-snare victim Naman.
Hambantota is the first report; the elephant sequences begin at 7:21; the ETH at 7:36; Dee Jayantha and Naman at 8:16 to 10:20.
There is also a disturbing segment about government-suppression of the media.

Space4Eles - May 28, 2012 04:32 PM (GMT)
Following my previous post, here is a follow-up blog from Born Free UK.

What Happened to the Rescued Elephant?

Therefore, last week, the little elephant was operated on (a major surgical procedure) and part of the leg was amputated. Initial feedback is encouraging and with orthopaedic and physiotherapeutic support, this little elephant will learn to manage on three legs although, of course, her return to the wild is now impossible.

Born Free is in touch with the ETH directly to find out what longer term plans they have for her. The good news is that she is healthy and has the potential to live a relatively comfortable life, despite her disability.

spiritedlulu - May 28, 2012 04:57 PM (GMT)
NOTE: Info re BBC iPlayer for use outside of the UK ...

Space4Eles - February 15, 2013 10:45 AM (GMT)
Acknowledging EARS [Louise Rogerson] for the link to this new video (3.47), uploaded 14 February 2013, from Elemotion Foundation.

Elemotion Foundation's orphan elephant 'Vibhi'

Louise writes:
Please watch this amazing video produced by Their new program is to support the work of Elephant Transit Home in Sri Lanka who not only rescue orphaned elephants but release the babies back into the wild - the only orphanage we know of which actually has a release program. All funds donated to Elemotion go to Vibhi's care and to help Human Elephant Conflict mitigation projects in Sri Lanka - an incredibly worthwhile project.
There's lots more information about Vibhi and Elephant Transit Home on Elemotion's website:

spiritedlulu - June 23, 2013 02:54 PM (GMT)
Wild elephants, people and an electric fence

Elephants are creatures of habit but are also clever animals that learn from experience, as shown by this story of elephants at the Uda Walawe National Park electric fence along the Timbolketitya – Thanamalwila road.

Space4Eles - September 9, 2013 11:18 AM (GMT)

These are the three 'limpy' musketeers of the ETH. Two have been wounded, possibly by snares and had to have a part of their limbs removed. The other has a birth defect. In spite of their handicaps they are happy playful fellows. Nimal the bigger fellow is getting quite acclimatized to his prosthetic limb, and is doing well with it.

Space4Eles - September 10, 2013 12:24 PM (GMT)
Video (0:44) published 31 August 2013:

The 'Trio' at the Elephant Transit Home

These three orphaned juveniles, at the Elephant Transit Home ETH in Uda Walawe have deformities in their limbs.One has a prosthetic limb which he is a adapting to well. They want to join the others and play but they have to be rehabilitated carefully, cos some of the other bigger elephants sometimes tend to bully them.

spiritedlulu - November 6, 2013 11:54 AM (GMT)
CHOGM heads to name baby elephants

Wildlife Conservation Department (WCD) officials have provided an opportunity for the Heads of States arriving in the country to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 to name a baby elephant in the Udawalawa Elephant Transit Home (Eth Athuru Sevana) with a name of their choice, a spokesperson said. - See more at:

spiritedlulu - February 13, 2014 02:19 AM (GMT)
Six year update on the Uda Walawe elephants

The Uda Walawe Elephant Research Project is now approaching eight years, a unique study of Asian elephants. Because elephants are such long-lived animals, it takes a long time to understand them – particularly for important variables like who reproduces and how often. Studies of wild African elephants have been conducted at multiple sites over 10 years or more (in some cases as many as 40!), but this has not been the case for the Asian species in the wild. There have been long-term records of Asian elephants populations in captivity from places like Myanmar, where they have long been used in timber camps, and it’s interesting to see how the two compare.

spiritedlulu - March 2, 2014 04:03 AM (GMT)
Video: An elephant and a calf kept at a residence in Mireegama sent to elephant orphanage

The Wildlife officials took measures to relocate a wild elephant and a calf illegally detained at Kandalama ancient residence in Meerigama, to the Udawalawe Elephant Orphanage.

Space4Eles - March 16, 2014 09:14 AM (GMT)

... in January 2014, the Elephant Transit Home (ETH) rescued a new born female calf which had become separated from its herd soon after birth. Failing to find its herd despite repeated efforts, ETH staff were left with no other option but to bring the orphaned calf into their care. The ‘lucky’ orphan was named Kavindee and like many arrivals at the ETH was highly stressed and prone to pneumonia and related illnesses. Young elephants are usually kept in the centre of the herd, protecting them from many threats including weather extremes.[tt_news]=1542

Space4Eles - June 1, 2014 08:54 AM (GMT)
My first playback trial!

Doing playback experiments with Asian elephants is harder than it would seem. The basic idea is straightforward: I want to know whether Asian elephants can distinguish between the calls of familiar and unfamiliar individuals, so I will play back recordings of familiar and unfamiliar elephants and see if the subjects react differently to them. But in order to do a playback, so many factors must align at the same time. The right subject must be present, the original caller must not be present, the group can’t have been exposed to a playback for at least a week, the elephants have to be stationary, they have to be clearly visible and within 50 meters of the road, there can’t be any tourists nearby, and all of these requirements must hold true for at least 15 minutes straight.

Space4Eles - July 18, 2014 08:05 AM (GMT)
Short report with photos:

The Elephant Transit Home at Uda Walawe, Sri Lanka

Every year, 7-8 large juveniles are released back into the wild, but last year, this did not take place, and as such, the number of orphans at the ETH has grown with a few large juveniles still around. The next release is scheduled for September 2014.

Space4Eles - February 15, 2015 08:29 AM (GMT)
Update from Sirilal of Sri Lanka Elephants:

... could not help doing a quick stop over at the elephant transit Home at Uda Walawe, en route to Yala, to check out young Namal who is doing well and is still his mischievous old self. Has got quite used to his new larger prosthetic limb now.

Namal, a few years back ( left) and now ( right) ..quite a healthy growth rate

Space4Eles - August 31, 2015 07:37 AM (GMT)
Photos posted by Sri Lanka Elephants yesterday.

Visit to the Uda Walawe Elephant Transit Home

Last week I was at the Elephant transit home.
This is Namal the juvenile whose hind leg had to be amputated.
He has a costume made local prosthetic limb

spiritedlulu - October 17, 2017 08:22 PM (GMT)

Say hello to our beautiful wild orphan, Grusha. Fostered by Elemotion Foundation, Grusha is a 7-yr old wild orphan at the Elephant Transit Home located in southern Sri Lanka. The Transit Home is the only orphanage in the world to successfully rescue, rehabilitate, and release orphaned Asian elephants back to the wild.

After the rehabilitation period is complete, usually around age five or six years old, the Transit Home releases the orphans back to the wild. At 7-yrs of age, we were anxiously awaiting Grusha's return to the wild. Finally, this summer, Grusha was released in a batch of 9 orphans.

Accompanying Grusha on her journey back to the wild was her younger friend Madhumathie. When Madhumathie was little, she was extremely shy and could often be found hiding in Grusha's shadow. As they grew, the girls became good friends and enjoyed being allo-mothers to many of the younger orphaned calves. An allo-mother is similar to a foster mother and protector.

Well, thirty hours after their release, guess who turned back up at the orphanage? Grusha and Madhumathie. It seems, the girls have such strong maternal instincts, a lovely characteristic of female elephants, they decided to walk back from their release spot to the orphanage. Of course, it was a surprise to have them back. But, they were welcomed by staff and are happy to be reunited with their little ones. While uncommon, released orphans have returned to the orphanage for several reasons, even seeking medical attention. But, this is the first time we have heard of two orphans returning together and for this apparent reason.

Grusha is a sweet elephant with a kind disposition and calm manner. She has a beautiful face and big stature. Although we were happy to hear about her return, we are looking forward to her upcoming second release... and her third chance at a life in the wild.

Trunks up! for our lovely Grusha!

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