Sri Lanka Programs
For 145 years, the Asian elephant was a treasured symbol of The Greatest Show On Earth. Everyone with the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation is proud of the pioneering work we have done over the years to care for the elephants in our herd, the largest in North America. We are equally as proud of the research and animal care practices we have been able to share around the world, most recently through our partnership with the government of the small island nation of Sri Lanka.
Located off the southeastern coast of India, Sri Lanka is home to over 21 million people, all in an area about the size of the State of West Virginia. Its small size and large number of people makes Sri Lanka one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Sri Lanka is also home to almost 6,000 Asian elephants, making it one of the most important range countries for endangered Asian elephants.
Sadly, as a result of its large population of people and elephants, sometimes there is human-elephant conflict often with fatal results for elephants.. This is one area where the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation has been working with the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation to reduce the toll on both people and elephants. Thanks to our support, Sri Lanka was able to undertake its first scientific census of its elephant population, giving researchers and local governments better information to help reduce the locations where people and elephants might compete for land and food.
Our assistance goes beyond the efforts to prevent human-elephant conflict. By partnering with two major Sri Lankan universities, Rajarata and Peradeniya, we’ve been able to share our wealth of veterinary and elephant husbandry experience with a new generation of Sri Lankans.
Our work with Rajarata University is two-fold. First, we’ve worked with the university to establish the Ringling Bros. Center for the Study of Asian Elephants. This unique facility offers visiting researchers office space, a conference room and living quarters all in close proximity to major Asian elephant habitats, making more research efforts possible to help conserve this magnificent species. Second, through the Ringling Bros. Center we are helping support the Elephant Transit Home and its mission to improve the lives of sick and orphaned elephants and facilitate their faster return to the wild. In partnership with the University of Peradeniya, four graduate students were able to study at the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation. There they learned to apply our elephant husbandry to their country’s elephant herds to more humanely care and study elephants in their native habitat. One of these students, with our continued support, has even begun doctoral work on new Asian elephant conservation research.