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Inspiring a cultural transformation in elephant care, conservation and coexistence with our elephant sanctuary

New Life Elephant Sanctuary© (NLES) is a groundbreaking elephant welfare initiative, and will be the first sanctuary in Sri Lanka for captive elephants. It will provide high quality veterinary care and offer sanctuary to Sri Lanka’s working elephants (young and old) who have spent their lives shackled in chains, abused and exploited in Sri Lanka’s rapidly growing tourism industry.

The New Life Elephant Sanctuary is still in the design and development stage. With your support, we can make the New Life Elephant Sanctuary a reality. You can help us create this safe haven for Sri Lanka's captive elephants by donating to this project today.

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Freedom is Coming! New Life Elephant Sanctuary

Freedom is Coming! New Life Elephant Sanctuary

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Life for Sri Lanka's Captive Elephants

Sri Lanka’s captive-held, working elephants provide elephant-back rides for tourists and perform in religious festivals, parades, circuses, weddings and other entertainment venues. These activities require elephants to work long hours carrying heavy loads in sweltering heat and noisy, crowded urban conditions.


Like other captive elephants owned privately by wealthy owners and temples, they live much of their lives alone, receiving little if any veterinary care or enrichment, with no opportunity to engage in normal social, physical or emotional elephant behavior.


For many captive elephants in Sri Lanka, lifelong pain, suffering and deprivation are all they have ever known. The gallery below shows the plight of captive elephants across Sri Lanka. They deserve better.

A Defining Moment for a New Human-Elephant Ethic

In many ways, this is the definitive moment to establish a new model, new standards, and a new code of conduct for captive elephant care in Sri Lanka’s rapidly growing, post-civil war economy. New Life Elephant Sanctuary will provide an alternative to elephant-back riding, street-begging, circus performances and other spectacles that are inherently harmful to elephants and that relegate mahouts to the lowest levels of society.  


New Life Elephant Sanctuary will help to bring about a new human-elephant ethic. The ASEAN Captive Elephant Working Group issued critical findings and recommendations for the humane treatment and care of captive elephants in its February 2016 report. Click here to read the report.

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A Place for Healing and Transformation for Captive Elephants

The New Life Elephant Sanctuary will be a place of healing and transformation for captive elephants. It will also help protect wild elephants by supporting their conservation, and will provide hands-on learning, discovery and training to veterinarians, volunteers, school children, villagers and mahouts.


Most important, NLES will encourage mutual respect among humans and elephants, helping to catalyse a cultural transformation in elephant care, tourism, conservation and co-existence that ensures Sri Lanka’s endangered elephant species, Elephas maximus maximus, will forever be a part of the country’s treasured natural heritage.

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