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VI Sets Sights on New Partnership


Partnership with the Department of Wildlife promises to profoundly reduce species loss & human-animal conflict in Sri Lanka

Veterinarians International is excited to announce our new partnership with the Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Elephant Transit Home in Sri Lanka. The partnership will enhance  Sri Lanka’s capacity to provide care to animals, help reduce the loss of endangered species, and introduce sustainable programs to protect its biodiversity. 

The partnership will commence in 2021 and will span over three years. The ambitious plan calls on both parties to:

  • Create a Conservation Education Program
  • Build a Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
  • Build a Wildlife Hospital

Why is this important?

Sri Lanka is a biodiversity hotspot with the highest biodiversity per unit area of land amongst Asian countries. Its animal diversity includes 748 known vertebrates, 1,492 invertebrates,  245 butterfly species, and 240 bird species. Cat species include the fishing cat, rusty-spotted cat, leopard, and jungle cat. 

The island has a wide range of climates including rainforests, mountain cloud forests, dry zone monsoon forests, and arid thorn scrub forests. It is also well known for being home to a large population of Asian elephants. About 10% of the world’s Asian elephants call Sri Lanka home, however, they have been displaced to living on just 2% of their habitat.

A leopard strolls through Yala National Park.

Our planet is in a crisis

Rapid loss of species and the degradation of their habitats from human sprawl is currently one of the greatest threats to our planet. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the crisis is an even greater threat than climate change. In fact, we are losing species at a rate that is 100 to 1,000 times faster than what is considered to be the natural extinction rate.

Sri Lanka plays an integral part in that crisis

Sri Lanka has some of the highest rates of Human-Wildlife Conflict in the world.

More than 14,500 incidents of human-elephant conflict were recorded between 2010 and 2019, and 42 leopard deaths were attributed to snare-induced injuries.

Villagers set snares almost everywhere to target animals largely responsible for damaging crops and vegetable gardens such as wild boars, giant squirrels, and porcupines, however, the snares do not discriminate and no animal that encounters one is spared.

A sloth bear with a snare injury was presented to the Elephant Transit Home, Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Given the close proximity of humans and wildlife in Sri Lanka, it’s impossible to avoid these encounters on a daily basis.

Nurse Kalpani holds a paralyzed baby langur that was presented to the Elephant Transit Home, Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Why Partnership Matters

Current facilities lack proper space, shade, hiding spaces, and bedding.

Help ETH Care For Newly Admitted Animals

In order to support the Elephant Transit Home (ETH) to rescue and rehabilitate animals in need, it is imperative we help them modernize enclosures and build a modern wildlife hospital. These advancements to the facility would give them the capability to provide necessary diagnostic assessments, provide treatment, and create an environment that would improve patient recovery. 

Help Upgrade The ETH Facility

Our immediate priority is to upgrade current enclosures and build a Wildlife Rehabilitation Facility. The current facility at the ETH, while functional, does not provide an environment which takes the rescued animal’s natural history and welfare needs into consideration. We plan to make changes to how the animals are maintained in the temporary enclosures would vastly improve their welfare during rehabilitation.

In order to accomplish our goals in Sri Lanka, it will cost $25,000 for the temporary holding facility, and $1.2 million for the wildlife hospital, rehabilitation facility, and conservation education program. 

We hope you will support us in our mission to help animals and heal our planet.

Feel free to contact erin@vetsinternational.org to learn more and on how you can get involved.