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Notes from visit to Sri Lanka in September 2003

ElephantVoices’ Joyce Poole and Petter Granli had a very productive trip to Sri Lanka from the 8th to 21st September. The main objective was to discuss with Lalith Seneviratne and his team aspects of elephant communication and related tools that can be used to reduce human-elephant conflict. Our hope is to see a long-term communication study initiated on Asian elephants, and meetings with researchers from Sri Lanka and India give us reason to be optimistic that such a study will soon begin. The collaborative visit was made possible by a grant from the US Fish and Wildlife’s Asian Elephant Conservation Fund. At the end of our stay we participated in a three-day conference about Human-Elephant relationships and conflicts in Sri Lanka’s capital, Colombo.

Lalith and his team took us on a comprehensive 1,200 km safari to some of Sri Lanka’s many beautiful national parks. Our schedule also included discussions with national park wardens and members of the local communities. Below follows a summary of our diary from those days. We are happy to say that we saw hundreds of elephants, in a variety of habitats, with very limited signs of elephant “damage