Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Help Asokamala Stay in Sri Lanka

5 November 2007

Categories: Elephants Campaign News, Homepage News

The elephant enclosure at Yerevan Zoo (Feb 2005)

We are pleased to report good news for Asokamala, the Sri Lankan elephant expected to be sent to Yerevan Zoo in Armenia. On Wednesday 31st October the Sri Lankan Supreme Court issued an order temporarily prohibiting her being transferred out of the country.

The order was issued in response to a petition filed by Vijitha Fernando, the Treasurer of the Society for the Protection of Animal Rights (SPAR). The petition, which referred to documents supplied by Born Free, contested that the transfer contravened the national Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance, and that the conditions in Yerevan were inadequate especially in view of the bitterly cold Armenian winter. It also considered the revered status of the elephant in Sri Lankan culture, arguing that these animals should not be subjected to treatment that would be detrimental to their existence and wellbeing.

The current order prohibits the transfer until 21st November, however a further hearing on 20th November will determine whether to extend this¹. We will be supporting Mr Fernando and SPAR in their efforts to see that Asokamala is saved from the terrible fate that was set out for her. Keep checking for more news, and we hope to report a permanent reprieve!

How you can help Asokamala the elephant …

Please help us stop her export to Yerevan Zoo with this simple action:

1. Write a polite letter or fax to Minister Ranawake and/or President Rajapakse (details below). 

2. Start your letter “Honourable Minister” (Minister) or “Your Excellency” (President).

3. Say that you’re concerned about Asokamala the female elephant being sent to Armenia.

4. Explain why you think elephants are special.

5. Say why you don’t think Yerevan Zoo is a suitable home for an elephant.

6. Tell him how it would affect your opinion of Sri Lanka if Asokamala were to be sent to Armenia.

7. Ask him to please let Asokamala stay in Sri Lanka.

8. Send the letter using the contact details below, and let us know if you receive any response.


Don’t forget, be courteous and persuasive – being rude or confrontational could have a negative effect!



Honourable Champaka Patali Ranawake MP
Minister of Environment
Ministry of Environment
82 Rajamalwatta Road

fax 009411 287 7288


His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapakse
Office of the President
President's Office
Colombo 1

fax 009411 254 2919

There is useful information on sending faxes via the internet here >

¹Good news just in that the court hearing concerning Asokamala, has extended the injunction against the transfer until 28th February. We will continue to support our Sri Lankan colleagues as they prepare for the next hearing.

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

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