Since 1997, we have been working to empower the local communities and provide them with the tools they need to protect our endangered wildlife
Our mission is to enable communities to balance ecosystem protection and economic development by pioneering a model for sustainable conservation. We are a non-governmental organisation committed to developing a sustainable model for wildlife conservation in Sri Lanka. Our focus is on helping people, elephants and other wildlife co-exist peacefully.
Our unique model involves a fully inclusive conservation strategy. We simultaneously pursue three key strategies to successfully fulfil our mission and achieve our goals and objectives, including field research, applied conservation, and sustainable economic development
We are highly committed to developing practical solutions that mitigate wildlife-human conflict, environmental damage, climate change, and biodiversity loss, and that address sustainable livelihoods, land use, and rural poverty issues. All of these issues are intertwined and must be addressed simultaneously to achieve lasting and meaningful conservation.
One-hundred years ago, more than
20,000 wild Asian elephants inhabited Sri Lanka
Today, the population numbers about 5,000
We practice holistic, community-based conservation methods, based on sound scientific research and the needs of the local people to manage the local ecosystem, protect communities and their livelihoods, and ensure the long-term protection of our endangered wildlife.
Over the years, we have established electric fences around our local villages to protect the people whilst allowing our wild elephant population to range freely. We have set up community-based organisations for human-elephant conflict mitigation, home garden development, and agro-forestry. Meanwhile, our Project Orange Elephant protects farms and homes from crop raiding elephants and supplements the farmer’s income throughout the year.
Alongside these projects, we conduct scientific research on Sri Lanka's most endangered wildlife species. Our research began with the endangered Sri Lankan elephant, but has subsequently extended to include Sri Lanka's elusive carnivores, butterflies and marine life.
“Today, the relationship between elephants and people is a paradox. On the one hand, the Asian elephant is a venerated cultural icon as well as a religious symbol. On the other hand, the elephant is both feared and destroyed in the wild and exploited and abused for profit in captivity.”
Ravi Corea, President of SLWCS
As rural human populations continue to grow and further encroach into wildlife habitat, the interface between wildlife and people grows increasingly diffused, and in some areas is non-existent. Competition with wild elephants for adequate space for agriculture, forestry and other forms of human development creates deadly situations for both humans and elephants.
For Sri Lankans living in the rural countryside, close encounters with elephants during their day-to-day activities are commonplace. Crop raiding by elephants and the harsh retaliatory measures subsequently taken by people whose livelihoods depend on their farm products feeds a vicious cycle of violence. Each year, about 80 humans and about 250 elephants are killed due to human-elephant conflicts. Our goal is to cultivate novel methods for sustainable conservation that permit the peaceful co-existence of all denizens of Sri Lanka's rural areas.
Recent analysis of the statistics within the past 5 years showed that the Wasgamuwa region contributes less than 2% to the national statistics on human-elephant conflict, including human deaths, elephant deaths, and number of properties damaged. This is mainly due to the work the Society has been doing for the last 18 years mitigating human-elephant conflict in Wasgamuwa. Find out more about what we're doing to combat human-elephant conflict, here.