“Eth Athuru Sevana” or the “Elephant Transit Home” is Asia’s first rehabilitation center for elephants. Established in 1995 by the Wildlife Conservation Department the center lies on a 200-acre land on the western border of the Udawalawe National Park. with the Udawalawe Reservoir as the southern border.
Baby elephants are sometimes wounded by traps laid by humans or by gunshot injuries. Some calves become orphaned when the mother dies or gets killed. The centre takes in the sick, wounded or orphaned baby elephants and nourishes them until they are capable of living on their own and release them to various national parks.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, the first of its kind in the world, by contrast, takes in orphaned, sick and wounded elephants of all ages and takes care of them. These elephants are animals who cannot be released into the wild due to different reasons.
The calves are treated and brought up with minimum human intervention to avoid developing an affinity with humans. The animals in this rehabilitation center have a higher capacity to live freely and it is highly beneficial for their genetic diversity as they are brought from different regions of the country.
Around 220 (elephant) calves have been brought to Eth Athuru Sevana since its inception and in 1998, the first batch of elephant calves was released to the wild. The bulk of them were released to Udawalawe National Park and the rest to Lunugamvehera National Park and Maduru Oya National Park. Thereafter number of batches of elephants have been released to various parks around the country.
The calves are fed at specified times and the visitors are allowed to see the animals only during morning and evening feeding times. All the calves are fed milk through a funnel one at a time. Each calf is trained to patiently wait till their turn but of course, like human kids, you will find a few cheeky small ones trying to get back into the queue after being fed or get an additional quota from another feeder.
Among them, you will also see a special calf who will never enjoy the freedom of the wild. Namal, named as he was found in the Namal Oya Reservoir area caught in a snare. He was just 2 months old and was severely malnourished and dehydrated when he was found. But with the care of the staff, he has now recovered but part of one of his hind legs has been amputated and is now fitted with a prosthesis custom-built for him.
Feeding Times of Orphaned Elephants
The centre allows you to visit at the feeding times of 10.00 am, 2.00 pm, and 6.00 pm daily. The Eth Athuru Sevana welcomes any contribution toward feeding the calves which can be in the form of cash or milk powder. You can contact the Eth Athuru Sevana on the contact number +94 472 232 147.
You don’t need to reserve tickets and can be bought over the counter. Be at the site 30 minutes before the feeding time and buy your tickets. With lesser crowds, weekdays are the best to visit.
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Map of the Eth Athuru Sevana
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Traveling to Eth Athuru Sevana
|Route From Colombo Eth Athuru Sevana
|Through : Horana – Ratnapura – Pelmadulla – Pallebedda
Distance : 150 km
Travel time : 4.30 hours
Driving Directions : see on google maps