I wholeheartedly believe that animals are best observed in their natural habitats. Unfortunately, in today’s day and age, it is still considered “normal” practice to keep them in captivity.
On a recent visit to Sri Lanka, I decided to visit The Elephant Freedom Project in Kegalle (2 hours from Colombo Airport), a sanctuary for captive elephants that aims to give these gentle giants a good, safe home. It is one of few places in Sri Lanka that DOES NOT offer elephant riding, tricks, or performances.
Two elephants currently reside at the establishment, each named Kumari (which means princess). For many years they had to work in the harsh tourist riding industry. Now they are safe, and visitors are more than welcome to visit them and even volunteer at their home!
During the day they can roam around freely inside the enclosure, go for a guided walk in the countryside, and splash around in the river where they are washed.
To keep a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere for the elephants, the organization limits the number of visitors per day, and the activities available to guests revolve around the needs of the elephants. This ranges from food preparation to feeding, to walking in the jungle and bathing in the river. For this reason, advanced booking is required.
The Sri Lankan elephant population has fallen almost 65% since the turn of the 19th century. Today, the Sri Lanka elephant is protected under Sri Lankan law, but there are very few mandates to keep them from being used as “tourist attractions”.
For more information on this incredible project, please visit https://elephantfreedomproject.com/.
Disclaimer: My posts are my personal views and do not represent the views of my company.