Elephants at wild locations in Sri Lanka

15 wild locations has kept elephants in Sri Lanka
There is presently 96 (32,46) living elephants in wild 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:

15 wild locations has kept 107 elephants in Sri Lanka

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

Elephants in wild locations96 (32,46) living11 (9,2) dead
Sex ratio and
 Male  32 / 96 
 Female  46 / 96 
 Free contact  1 / 96 
 Protected contact  0 / 96  0%
 No contact  0 / 96  0%
 Unknown contact  0 / 96  0%
 wild  89 / 96 

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
    Anuradhapura forest
    Kept totally 12 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0)9 births12 relocated0 deathswild
    Hambantota Wild Elephant Management Reserve
    Kept totally 5 elephants
    , 4 present (1,3)0 births1 relocated0 deathswildHambantotaSouthern Province
    Kalawewa National Park
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0)0 births0 relocated1 deathswildAnuradhapura
    Anuradhapura DistrictNorth Central Province
    Kurunegala District
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0)0 births0 relocated1 deathswildKurunegalaNorth Western Province
    Kurunegala forest
    Kept totally 5 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0)1 births5 relocated0 deathswildKurunegala
    Lahugala Elephant Sanctuary
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0)0 births1 relocated0 deathswildPolonnaruwa
    Lunugamvehera National park
    Kept totally 4 elephants
    , 4 present (3,1)0 births0 relocated0 deathswildLunugamvehera
    Maduru Oya National Park
    Kept totally 6 elephants
    , 4 present (1,1)1 births2 relocated0 deathswildPolonnaruwaUva Province
    Minneriya national park
    Kept totally 3 elephants
    , 3 present (0,1)3 births0 relocated0 deathswildPolonnaruwa
    North Central Province
    Nawagaththegama jungle
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0)1 births1 relocated0 deathswildPuttalam
    Sinharaja Forest Reserve
    Kept totally 2 elephants
    , 2 present (2,0)0 births0 relocated0 deathswild
    Southern Province
    Sri Lanka unspecified location
    Kept totally 19 elephants
    , 0 present (0,0)23 births16 relocated3 deathswild
    Uda Walawe Nationalpark
    Kept totally 71 elephants
    , 66 present (20,32)6 births4 relocated1 deathswildUda Walawe National Park
    Wilpattu Nationalpark
    Kept totally 1 elephants
    , 1 present (0,1)0 births0 relocated0 deathswild
    Yala Ruhunu National Park
    Kept totally 19 elephants
    , 12 present (5,7)10 births2 relocated5 deathswildHambantota

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

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