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When Elephants are Your Neighbors: HEC Field Guides in 3 Languages for 1 Country

Created by the SLWCS to help rural Sri Lankan’s negotiate living in close quarters with wild elephants, we printed 2000 Human-Elephant Conflict Field Guides for dispersal in high conflict zones. Produced in Sinhala, Tamil, and English, and with descriptive images for non-readers, they help human and elephant families stay safe in a quickly changing world.

Side by side with the DWC

In 2019 we spent time field time alongside the governmental agency of the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Central Sri Lanka, walking HEC fence-lines while developing relationships with farmers sharing habitat with wild elephants.  2019 was the deadliest year on record for Human-Elephant Conflict, with almost 400 wild elephants losing their lives in this small island nation, mostly due to “mouth bombs”, poisoning, and shootings.

The vast majority of people in villages we work in do not want to harm elephants. Instead, it is usually out of desperation and lack of resources causing violence to occur.  Sharing conflict resolution tactics whilst building personal relationships helps create positive change for all.


Watching the DWC responding to a call of a wild elephant needing veterinary intervention in the field is a lesson in coexistence. Tracking, moving the elephant into position with “elephant crackers”, darting, assessing, and then treating, this team is skill-in-action. Competition for resources makes it hard to believe sometimes that wild elephants will still be here in the generations to come, and there is no simple solution. But together we keep working to create a world where elephants can inhabit their rightful place on a crowded planet.

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