Elephants at temple locations in Sri Lanka


23 temple locations has kept elephants in Sri Lanka
There is presently 33 (23,5) living elephants in temple locations in Sri Lanka (in this database)

Region: Sri Lanka is in this database included in asiaOther regions
Wild elephants:

Sri Lanka has about 5879 (min. 5879, max. 5879) wild elephants. Source:Fernando et al. (2011)

Location holdings:

23 temple locations has kept 46 elephants in Sri Lanka

(Database tables with collection of elephants further down on the page)

Elephants in temple locations33 (23,5) living13 (13,0) dead
Sex ratio and
Management:
 Male  23 / 33 
 70%
 Female  5 / 33 
 15%
 Free contact  32 / 33 
 97%
 Protected contact  0 / 33  0%
 No contact  0 / 33  0%
 Unknown contact  1 / 33 
 3%
 wild  0 / 33  0%

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)

Human-elephant conflict


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.

Captive elephants


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). In the early 1980s a census conducted by the DWLC listed 344 elephants, including 29 tuskers and 154 mukhnas (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).


Recommended Citation

Koehl, Dan, Facts about elephants in Sri Lanka. Elephant Encyclopedia, (2021) available online retrieved at https://www.elephant.se/country.php?name=Sri Lanka.
(archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources, among others


Internal relevant links

  • The elephant database startpage. Statistics
  • News about elephants in Sri Lanka (From the sister site Elephant News)


  • NameElephant collectionTypePlaceDistrictProvinceStateRegion
    Bellanwila Rajamaha Viharaya temple
    Kept totally 3 elephants
    , 2 present (2,0)0 births0 relocated1 deathstempleBoralesgamuwa
    (map)
    Delgamu temple
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 1 present (1,0)0 births0 relocated0 deathstempleRatnapura
    Deraniyagala Sri Saman Devalaya
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 1 present (1,0)0 births0 relocated0 deathstempleDeraniyagala
    Devinuwara Upulwan Sri Vishnu Devalaya
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0)0 births1 relocated0 deathstempleMatara
    Gangaramaya Temple
    Kept totally 4 elephants
    , 1 present (1,0)0 births1 relocated2 deathstempleColombo
    Kaduwela Kotalawela Sankapitti Vihara
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 1 present (1,0)0 births0 relocated0 deathstempleKaduwela
    Kandy Sri Dalada Maligawa Temple of the Tooth
    Kept totally 16 elephants
    , 8 present (8,0)0 births2 relocated6 deathstempleKandy
    (map)
    Kataragama Kiri Vehera Dewalaya
    Kept totally 3 elephants
    , 3 present (3,0)0 births0 relocated0 deathstempleKataragama
    (map)
    Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara temple
    Kept totally 2 elephants
    , 2 present (2,0)0 births0 relocated0 deathstempleKelaniya
    Kotte Rajamaha Viahara
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0)0 births0 relocated1 deathstempleKotte
    Maharagama Temple
    Kept totally 3 elephants
    , 3 present (0,1)0 births0 relocated0 deathstempleMaharagamaWestern Province
    Mahiyangana Raja Maha Viharaya
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 1 present (1,0)0 births0 relocated0 deathstempleMahayangana
    Matara Weherahena temple
    Kept totally 2 elephants
    , 2 present (1,1)0 births0 relocated0 deathstempleMatara
    (map)
    Morawatte Temple
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0)0 births1 relocated0 deathstempleKegalleKegalle DistrictSabaragamuwa Province
    Pelmadulla Purana Rajamaha Viharaya
    Kept totally 2 elephants
    , 1 present (1,0)0 births0 relocated1 deathstemplePelmadulla
    Polwatte temple
    Kept totally 2 elephants
    , 1 present (1,0)0 births0 relocated1 deathstempleKollupitiya
    Ragama temple (unknown name)
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0)0 births0 relocated1 deathstempleRagama
    Ridi Vihara (Silver temple)
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 1 present (0,1)0 births0 relocated0 deathstempleKandy
    Siri Alanmathiniyaramaya Purana Viharaya
    Kept totally 2 elephants
    , 2 present (0,2)0 births0 relocated0 deathstempleColombo
    Sri Dewram Wehera Depanama Pannipitiya
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 1 present (0,0)0 births0 relocated0 deathstemple Pannipitiya
    Sri Lanka Ramanya Nikaya
    Kept totally 0 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0)0 births0 relocated0 deathstempleWeveldeniya
    Vipashyarama Purana Vihara
    Kept totally 2 elephants
    , 2 present (0,0)0 births0 relocated0 deathstemple
    Wewaladeniya Rajamaha Viharaya
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0)0 births1 relocated0 deathstempleKegalleKegalle DistrictSabaragamuwa Province



    This document was updated: 2020-10-03 08:17:45


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