Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Ganga the Elephant

28 January 2015

Categories: Homepage News, Elephants Campaign News, Zoo Check Campaign News, Sri Lanka News

We have received several reports concerning the welfare of Ganga, an elephant thought to be about seven or eight years old currently housed at the Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

As a result, Born Free sent an investigator to the Gangaramaya Temple on 27th January.

At the time of our visit, Ganga was chained by one front and one back leg under a covered area of a yard in the temple. She was situated next to a small pool, which she could not access due to the chains, and the pool was empty. The flooring was hard paving slabs.

Physically, Ganga appeared to be in good body condition, with no obvious wounds or signs of disease. Although it was difficult to assess from a distance, her feet appeared to be in a similar state to other young captive elephants.

She had access to some browse (palm branches) and was engaged in throwing some of the vegetation onto her back. We did not observe any stereotypical behaviour such as swaying.

A few tourists were being shown Ganga, and some were posing for photographs next to her and stroking her.

Our assessment is that Ganga’s housing conditions appear to be inadequate, and she does not have social contact with other elephants. Born Free firmly believes that elephants do not belong on chains.

Unfortunately, it is very common for captive elephants in Sri Lanka to be housed in a similar manner, and Born Free is developing a strategy to attempt to address this problem.

We will contact the Priest at the Gangaramaya Temple to request that, as a priority, Ganga is provided with improved facilities; and to ask whether he would consider allowing Ganga to be relocated.

Further information about Born Free’s work in Sri Lanka here

Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906


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