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Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home

What is the Udawalawe Elephant transits home? Udawalawe Elephant transits home (ETH), also called udawalawe elephant orphanage . Th...

Udawalawe Elephant transits home

What is the Udawalawe Elephant transits home?

Udawalawe Elephant transits home (ETH), also called udawalawe elephant orphanage. The primary purpose of the Elephant Transit Home is to rehabilitate and release isolated baby elephants to the wild.

The Ministry of Wildlife Conservation took an essential step in the welfare and protection of orphan elephants in 1995. As a result, "Ath Athuru Sevana" (Elephant Transit Home) was established at the Udawalawe National Park.

Elephant Transit Home (ETH) cares for orphaned elephant calves until they are independent and capable enough to be released back into the wild. Although most of the general public enthusiastically supported this effort, at first, many conservationists doubted its viability.

Where is it located?

Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home location

Located on the western border of the 33,000 hectares Udawalawe National Park, ETH is adjacent to the "Udawalawe Reservoir." Elephant calves have no limits in the area and are free to roam wherever they want. Similarly, wild elephants also visit ETH near to ETH. The seasonal fluctuating water level of the reservoir creates a diverse environment for both baby elephants and wild elephants.

"Komali" is the first orphaned baby elephant.

The first orphaned baby elephant cared for at Ath Athuru Sevana (Elephant transits home) was a one-year-old female elephant. She was found wandering alone in the forest near the Meegalawa area in the Anuradhapura district. Dr. Nandana Atapattu brought the elephant calf to ETH and registered her as the first resident, naming her "Komali." Since then, to date, more than 200 elephants have been cared for at ETH. All of these orphaned wild elephants are reintroduced into the wild in their natural habitats at the age of five when they can take care of themselves.

How to feed baby elephants?

milk feeding for baby elephants
Transit Home is a lively place. Feeding calves milk every three hours is a recurring job 365 days a year. Elephant calves at ETH feed once every three hours. ETH becomes a frenzy if feeding times are delayed; The pathetic cry and the elephants' charges for milk are agonizing to hear. Adapting orphaned elephant calves to powdered milk and a whole new environment requires the utmost patience and care, as unique milk formulas for elephants have yet to be introduced.

Calves are generally fed human baby milk formulas. After the initial milk feeding sessions to discover the best dairy formulas for elephant calves, to adapt to them individually, elephants are at increased risk of becoming ill with digestive problems or milk intolerance. In such cases, special preparations such as soy milk, rice broth, or Jeevanee (a rehydration solution) are provided in place of milk to return them to normal.

A day rarely goes by without one or more elephant calves getting sick. Post-disease treatment, in general, is a long process in elephants since their recovery is slow. Likewise, separating the sick with contagious diseases from the healthiest is also a tedious task. Managing the health and welfare of elephant calves with very little support from the labs and the lack of medical knowledge and experience in the country is also another challenge facing ETH officials.

Elephant transit home milk feeding times 

Public viewing of feeding is permitted daily at 10.30a.m., 2.30 p.m., and at 6 p.m. 

Elephant transit home tickets prices (price updated 2023 June) 

You can buy entrance tickets at the ETH tickets counter. No need for early reservation. Ticket prices are as bellows, 

For Foreigner
Adult - For 1 person $5 + 18% VAT
Child - For 1 child $3 + 18% VAT (below 12 years old)

For Locals
Adult - 115.00 LKR
Child - 57.50 LKR

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