Sri Lanka Travel Tours

Uda Walawe Elephant Transit Home

Uda Walawe Elephant Transit Home

Sum up

Visit the Elephant Transit Home in Udawalawe National Park, a rehabilitation centre for orphaned elephant calves, in the confidence that you are supporting an ethical commitment towards enhancing their chances of survival in the wild. The Elephant Transit Home exists for the primary objective of rehabilitating orphaned elephant calves before releasing them.

Duration: 1 hours

Best Time: Year-round

Additional Information

There are normally between 40 to 60 orphaned elephants and visitors can watch them being fed, from the safety of a viewing platform about 8m away, at one of the four daily feeding sessions, held every three hours from 9am until 6pm.

The distinction between the Elephant Transit Home and some other so-called orphanages is that the stated commitment is to the re-integration of young elephants with wild herds once they reach five years old.

The elephants are never chained, but are free to roam around – and play! – as they wish. Human contact is kept to a minimum in order to maximize their chance of survival when they are returned to the wild. There is no touching, washing or posing alongside them for photos.

Despite the reverence for elephants in Sri Lanka, they are always in an element of danger, particularly because of conflict with a growing human population which encroaches on their natural habitat, most often for farmland or timber, sometimes for trafficking. Many elephant calves become orphaned as a result and need help to survive.

The home is about 20 minutes away from the entrance to Udawalawe National Park and was established in 1995 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation with the help of the Born Free Foundation.

For much of the day, the orphaned elephants live in the park in preparation for their eventual release into the wild. To see the calves and large herds of wild elephants in this natural setting, go on a morning or evening jeep safari into the national park.

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