An effort to reduce Human Elephant Conflict (HEC) within our emerald isle
Elephants play a crucial role in the varied cultural and religious aspects of Sri Lankan society. Their importance is well recognized and they are a symbol of reverence for most. Sri Lanka also ranks among the few places in Asia where wild elephants roam without being subject to severe persecution.
However, with the recent spike in the human – elephant conflict coupled with habitat loss, strains are starting to show on the Sri Lankan Elephant population. Therefore, we believe that the Elephant Museum would be an apt reminder to all, of the immense value of these gentle giants.
Proposed initiative is the first foundation dedicated to Elephants, both Asian and African species in the world; is a perfect opportunity to restore the millennia old relationship and understanding which existed among Sri Lankans regarding our Elephants.
A self-sufficient solution, that will fund all conservation efforts, education and research programmes, provides not only compensation for affected families but also introduce sustainable industry and tourism in the villages they live. It will be a project that will contribute to the national economy rather than burden it. Above all it will be a program, which will be transparent uniting all current conservation, education and research projects related to the Sri Lankan elephant under one administrative banner backed by the Sri Lankan Government, it will also bring the state, parties of all political backgrounds and the private sector together to achieve one common goal.
We wish to have opportunity to propose this project to you through this comprehensive report in the hopes that all Sri Lankans feel the same way we do; that the plight of the Sri Lankan elephant is something that can no longer be ignored for to do so is risking losing a very part of what makes us Sri Lankan.
Carrying out Elephant Conservation Projects and Rehabilitation
This is undoubtedly the core purpose of any authority concerned with elephant conservation. But it is essential that such efforts formulate into lasting solutions rather than haphazard projects that are of no benefit to elephant or man. Viable answers need to be found to resolve HEC that only benefit the elephant population but also the people affected by the conflict. Lessons should be learnt from successful conservation projects in other countries such as Thailand India and South Africa and project implementation should precede extensive research and feasibility study.
Be at the Forefront of National and International Research and Study on the Sri Lankan Elephant.
The importance of being at the forefront of Sri Lankan elephant research and study is twofold. Research and study spearheads any conservation programme. Only through understanding and learning about these animals will it be possible to introduce break-through conservation programs to protect the elephant population. Secondly, a state of the art elephant research programme in Sri Lanka will function as a magnet for international technology and funding, from research grants provided by international universities to international students and enthusiast wishing to receive training at Sri Lankan facilities. Being at the forefront also translates in to high prestige among the international scientific and conservation community further attracting international projects for conservation efforts.
Coordinating and Streamlining External Conservation Efforts from Private Sector and Foreign Agencies to Ensure Efficient and Integrated Utilization.
Current conservation efforts focused on the Sri Lankan elephant, for all its good intentions is rarely coordinated and structured enough to make a lasting impact. This is most apparent in NGO and private sector conservation programs. Many of these programs function within the limited scope of its benefactor company or organization. A centralized authority would be able to build dialog cooperation between these numerous programs essentially channelling all these funds and resources towards a coordinated effort and lasting positive results.
Monitoring and Governing of all Elephant Conservation Projects Including Those Carried out by External Sources. (Private sector, NGOs, Foreign NGOs)
One of the fundamental issues with regard to elephant conservation in Sri Lanka is not lack of conservation efforts but rather a lack of authority. Apart from the government’s own wildlife department, numerous parties including local private sector organizations (Dilmah Tea) and NGOs and societies (Wildlife Conservation Society) as well as foreign NGOs all have active conservation, and fundraising operations in Sri Lanka as well as the rest of the world. The result unfortunately, has been the lack of integration between each of these fund raising and conservation efforts. Funds collected are often poorly utilized and do not contribute to lasting solutions. A central authority could change that by bringing in a new age of transparency and integration in elephant conservation in Sri Lanka.
Encouraging Private Sector Involvement in Elephant Conservation
Sri Lanka’s Private sector has huge potential contributing to any conservation effort. With the advent of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) more and more private sector organizations are jumping on the conservation bandwagon. Some organizations such as Dilmah Tea have taken upon themselves to start their own conservation movements. Attracting the private sector requires a system which gives public recognition to these organizations for their contribution.
Together with the Private Sector And The Tourism Ministry, Introducing And Maintaining A Coordinated Campaign To Raise Funds For Elephant Conservation Through Branding “Pinnawala’, Merchandising And Positioning ‘Elephant Safari’ As part of Sri Lankan Eco Tourism.
The Pinnawala Orphanage was established in 1975 by the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife as part of a project to care for orphaned elephants. Many of the residents are victims of Human Elephant Conflict (HEC). Pinnawala is a name synonymous with both elephant conservation and elephant tourism. As a result, it could also be developed in conjunction with Sri Lanka Tourism, as the perfect international brand name to build awareness about the Sri Lankan Elephant and spearhead fund raising efforts.