Uda Walawe Wildlife Programme

Photo of a Baby Elephant

Dilmah Conservation is actively involved in elephant conservation initiatives at the Elephant Transit Home (ETH) in Udawalawe National Park and is currently sponsoring the care of two elephant calves named ‘Baby Dilmah’ and ‘Ted’ (named after the New Zealand All Blacks rugby coach Sir Graham Henry KNZM). Baby Dilmah will be celebrating her first birthday on the 26th of September 2018. You can learn more about her story here.

Photo of Elephants Traveling Through a Lake
Photo credits: Centre for Conservation and Research

Dilmah Conservation funded the renovation of the Elephant Transit Home (ETH) in 2011 and maintains a dedicated Information Centre designed to create awareness and share vital information on elephants. Dilmah Conservation has also partnered with the Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Centre for Conservation and Research in radio-collaring two elephants at the Yala National Park to study the movement patterns of elephants. Visit the Dilmah Conservation Information Centre at ETH to learn more about these majestic creatures and the problems they face.

The Elephant Transit Home (ETH) which was founded in 1995 at the Udawalawe National Park and was established in order to provide protection for orphaned or abandoned elephant calves. It is home to around 40 rescued elephants between the ages of 1 - 5 years. These elephants who are not yet able to survive in the wild are accorded special care and nourishment by a dedicated team. The transit home ensures that all elephants are returned to the forests when they are old enough to care for themselves, and as such are raised with minimal human interaction. However, it is also important to note that this project was especially designed to foster cross-species empathy towards remedying the thoughtless damage inflicted upon these animals.

  • Objectives

    • Continue to support the day-to-day operations of ETH, such as feeding, and any other special requirements.
    • Manage and Maintain the ETH Information Centre in order to provide a more informative, educational experience on Elephants for visitors to the Park and promote conservation.
    Feeding Milk to Small Elephants
  • Progress

    • Dilmah Conservation has extended its support to the ETH through assistance to improve its infrastructure facilities, including the refurbishment of the information centre and installing solar water heaters and filtration system coupled with a UV sterilizer to help minimise heating costs.
    • Dilmah Conservation is in the progress of expanding its outreach in the region of the Udawalawe National Park where considerable work has already been carried out to support and empower the lives and livelihoods of the adjacent communities. The ongoing Mankada pottery project, a novel concept by Dilmah Conservation will be further enhanced and plans are afoot to make the Udawalawe National Park a model national park in the country.
    • Dilmah Conservation will use suitable tools and resources to educate adjacent communities of the need to be eco-friendly, whilst simultaneously working to strengthen their socio-economic standards.
    • The programme will use education as a tool to make the community understand the necessity for coexistence between man and nature in order to reduce conflict levels that occur between man and beast. It will demonstrate income earning methods by sustainably utilising nature rather than by exploiting it. This, Dilmah Conservation hopes, will generate a greater understanding of the importance of biodiversity conservation and foster greater respect for it.
    • Dilmah Conservation will conduct environmental awareness programmes for these communities, and will include all schools in the vicinity of the Park. The programme will also provide instructions on income generation in an environmentally sustainable manner, with one such project being the manufacture of recycled paper.
    • The second phase of the programme will see improvements to facilities within the Udawalawe National Park and an expansion of the Mankada pottery project. This will include setting up of sales outlets at the Park entrance and at the Elephant Transit Home. This phase will also incorporate special training for the park drivers and guides in order to raise the standard of the services that they provide to visitors.
    • This phase will also incorporate special training for the park drivers and guides in order to raise the standard of the services that they provide to visitors.
    • The Elephant Transit Home will be upgraded with solar water heating facilities and a biogas plant to encourage sustainable use of resources and to discourage the use of firewood which was originally used in the milk-making process for feeding baby elephants.
    • A book on Uda Walawe national park that provides an extensive overview of the park species habitats was published titled ‘A Pictorial Guide to Uda Walawe National Park’. A small booklet also made based on the information available to visitors of the ETH.
    Information Centre by Dilmah Conservation Guide Explaining about Elephants
  • Partners

    • Department of Wildlife Conservation of Sri Lanka