Did you watch BBC2’s excellent Indian Ocean series last night with Simon Reeve (27th May, 8 pm)? If so, you will have learned a little about the work of the Elephant Transit Home (ETH) in Sri Lanka (about 7mins into the program), a rescue and rehabilitation facility supported by Born Free.
You will also have seen our in-country representative, Dr Deepani Jayantha talking with Simon about a small rescued elephant with a badly damaged rear leg. The leg was trapped in a snare and despite efforts by the team at the ETH, it failed to respond to treatment. 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, his 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 him. The good news is that he is healthy and has the potential to live a relatively comfortable life, despite his disability.
The other good news is that the wild elephant population in Sri Lanka is growing. The latest Wildlife Department survey indicates elephant numbers above 5,500 which, when you bear in mind that Sri Lanka has one of the highest human densities on the planet, is encouraging indeed.
Despite incidents such as snaring and electrocution (due to overhead power cables), Sri Lankans are remarkably tolerant when it comes to having over 5,500 pachyderms in their midst and have set aside significant areas of natural habitat for wildlife. Of course, there is conflict between farmers and elephants and Born Free is engaged in several Human/Elephant Conflict Mitigation Projects to reduce tension and encourage co-existence.
You can help pay for milk for an orphan at the ETH by buying our “Round of Drinks” Gift Cards