Sri Lanka is an island with a land area of approximately 62,000 km2 situated in the Indian Ocean, 35 km from the southern end of the Indian Peninsula.
2004: In 2004 a rare albino elephant was spotted roaming Sri Lankas Ruhunu National Park, the first recorded sighting in the country.
2011: The first-ever nationwide elephant census in August 2011 produced a total of 7,379 jumbos across the island: 5,879 of them were spotted near parks and sanctuaries, while another 1,500 were estimated to be living in other areas. (Earlier 2 000-3 000, Santiapillai, IUCN1996, Sukumar 2008)
2021: Sri Lanka is home to an estimated 7,500 elephants, which is about 10% of elephants that live in Asia. They live on about 2% of the country’s land area, and a little more than 7% of male elephants bear tusks.
A record number of elephants - 361 - have died in Sri Lanka during 2019, environmental groups say.
It is highest figure of elephant deaths to be reported since Sri Lanka became independent in 1948, conservationists said. Most were killed by people.
There are an estimated 7,500 wild elephants in Sri Lanka. Killing them is illegal, but the animals often come into conflict with rural communities.
Sajeewa Chamikara, an environmentalist from the Movement for Land and Agricultural Reform, told the BBC that some 85% of elephant deaths last year may have been caused by human activity.(Sri Lanka elephants: "Record number" of deaths in 2019, BBC)
2019: In 2019 alone, 407 elephants and 122 humans were killed due to the country’s worsening HEC. Man-elephant conflicts are the major cause for the elephant killings whilst a number of elephants were run over by trains accidentally. In some other cases elephants were killed as they fell in man-made structures like farming wells.
Research has indicated that problem-elephant translocation causes intensification and broader propagation of HEC and increased elephant mortality, hence defeats both HEC mitigation and elephant conservation goals.
1946: In 1946 Sri Lanka was said to have 736 elephants in captivity (Santiapillai and de Silva, 1994)
1955: there were said to still be 670 elephants (Deraniyagala, 1955).
1967: census conducted by the University of Peradeniya and the Smithsonian Elephant Research Programme showed 532 elephants, with two owned by government and the remaining 530 in private hands (Jayasinghe and Jainudeen, 1970).
1982: In the early 1980s a census conducted by the DWLC listed 344 elephants, including 29 tuskers and 154 makhnas (Anon., 1982d); but A.B. Fernando, who handed the mimeographed single page to the author, estimated that about 10% were uncounted, the addition of which would give about 380 elephants (A.B. Fernando, 1988).