Sri Lankan Elephant Protection Project

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Sri Lankan Elephant Protection Project

Post by ForumAdmin » Mon Jan 11, 2010 12:30 pm

Exetel have signed a contract to initiate and support this project commencing January 1st 2010.

The Model Dairy Farm Pilot


Sri Lanka's primary rural industry is agriculture. According to the World Bank (2002) nearly 80 percent of Sri Lanka's population is rural and the rural poor account for 90 percent of the poor in the country. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD 2005/2006) reports that more than 40 per cent of the rural poor people in Sri Lanka are small farmers.

Agriculture is the major employer in rural areas and most of the agricultural output is produced by small-scale farmers, who according to the IFAD are hampered by neglect, poor economies, poor financial services, inappropriate or limited technology, fragmented landholding, pre and post-harvest losses as high as 40-50 per cent, inconsistent produce pricing and trade policies, and market constraints.

Adding to the considerable suffering of these people is HEC. The ecological and social costs of clearing forests to create new agricultural lands have proved to be very high since the resulting loss of habitat forces wild elephants to raid agricultural lands causing crop and property damages and jeopardizing the lives of both humans and elephants. Therefore HEC in Sri Lanka is almost entirely central to agricultural crop raiding.

While elephants and most agriculture livelihoods based on crops practiced by Dry Zone farmers are incompatible, elephants and cattle do not have conflict. A study conducted by government veterinarian Nettasinghe (1973) in the North Central Province showed that elephants and cattle inhabiting the same area use the same sources of food and water and lives without conflicts.

Human Elephant Conflicts

Human elephant conflict (HEC) today defines the relationship between people and elephants in Sri Lanka. This is considering that the people and elephants in Sri Lanka have associated for over 5,000 years (Jayewardene 1994) and the elephant is an inherent symbol of Sri Lankan culture and religion. This unfortunate situation has developed over the years mostly due to ill-conceived land development projects and agriculture livelihoods that are incompatible with elephants. Additionally most efforts to mitigate HEC have been ineffective due to the way it is perceived by all the stakeholders. Currently HEC is solely perceived to be a wildlife management or a wildlife conservation problem?whereas in reality it is a socio-economic problem. HEC is mainly driven by socio-economic factors, e.g. population growth, economic development and human settlement programs therefore its resolution must also be approached from a socio-economic perspective.
Human elephant conflict without exaggeration is one of the worst environmental and socio-economic crises in the rural dry zone of Sri Lanka today. The reason for this problem is that 70% of Sri Lanka's wild elephant populations live outside the Wildlife Protected Area network, sharing land with rural people. As a result, HEC is prevalent in 8 of the 9 Administrative Provinces in Sri Lanka affecting over 3 million people. The crisis is escalating every year and its magnitude can be assessed by the following facts: From 1992 - 2008, 914 people were killed by elephants, 2,337 elephants were killed by farmers and from 2004 - 2007 a total of 3,103 homes were destroyed by elephants. In addition to the above losses, the damage caused by elephants to paddy fields, home gardens, maize and other cereal cultivations and coconut plantations in many parts of the dry zone of Sri Lanka has been estimated to cost Rs. 1,100 million (~US$10 million) annually (Bandara & Tisdell, 2004). A substantial cost to bear for a population where nearly 70% of the people live in poverty and the GNP is less than US$1500 per year. The alarmingly increasing rural poverty among Dry Zone farmers due to damages to agriculture, houses and property by elephants and the equally increasing number of destitute families due to the father, mother or the main bread winner of the family getting killed by elephants is a serious socio-economic crisis in Sri Lanka that requires urgent attention. In view of the above, it is extremely urgent to resolve HEC to alleviate rural farmers from poverty and to save elephants from extermination. HEC continues to increase due to ineffective landscape-level planning and land use that is creating agriculture based livelihoods that are incompatible with elephants. Currently there are very few efforts to develop solutions to resolve the livelihood and environmental concerns resulting due to the negative interaction of agriculture and elephants. The challenge is even though HEC is as a result of agriculture-the solution to mitigate it to a certain extent has to be based on alternative agriculture practices, since the more drastic option of trying to change the traditional lifestyles of a vast farmer population would be impossible and unrealistic.

The Model Dairy Farm Project

The proposal is compiled in response to the interest expressed by Exetel Pvt Ltd. to partner the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS) in its Award winning Saving Elephants by Helping People (SEHP) Project as part of Exetel's Corporate Social Responsibility. As discussed with two of the owners of Exetel Pvt Ltd: Mr. John Linton and Mrs. Annette Linton the ultimate objective of the project is to ensure the survival of the Sri Lankan elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) and therefore the following project is proposed:

The project will establish a pilot sustainable dairy farm in support of the efforts of the SLWCS to develop several cost effective and economical alternative agriculture practices that are compatible to living with wild elephants. These alternative programs will not only be less susceptible to elephant depredations but will also help to provide farmers with a stable and sustainable income while contributing to habitat enrichment and wildlife conservation.

The pilot sustainable dairy project will be one of the important components of an integrated eco-agriculture project to establish a sustainable land-use system that will manage the land to both produce food and to protect wildlife and other critical ecosystem services. Therefore the project will enhance rural livelihoods through more productive and profitable farming systems as a core strategy for both agricultural development and conservation of biodiversity ?especially for elephants to help mitigate human elephant conflicts. The conceptual thinking behind the integrated project is:
1. Buffer areas are generally located between Protected Areas and villages.
2. Additionally buffer areas are considered biological wastelands because they are mostly colonized by weedy invasive species with no benefit to wildlife or people.
3. Therefore buffer areas make ideal sites to implement habitat enrichment programs to convert them to viable habitats for wildlife as well as an economic resource for people.
4. Enriched buffer areas will also act as trophic barriers by providing crop raiding elephants with alternative nutritious food species thus discouraging them from venturing into villages.
5. Rural communities who appreciate the economic value of enriched buffer areas will be more willing to participate in HEC resolution and environmental conservation projects. If farmers are provided with economic incentives then they would willingly participate in the efforts to enrich the buffer areas to benefit them as well as wildlife. Therefore a habitat enrichment project integrated with a sustainable dairy development program will help to achieve three purposes with farming communities that are affected by HEC:
1. Provide incentives for villagers to participate in HEC resolution and wildlife conservation programs.
2. Provide alternative incomes that will act as an economic buffer when farmers� main crops are raided by elephants, and
3. Help to alleviate rural poverty which will reduce human impact on existing elephant habitats as well as build tolerance in farmers for elephants.
A model dairy farm will have direct benefits to villagers, such as:

• Demonstrate the usefulness of livestock in home-garden and agro-forestry systems.
• Minimize losses due to elephant raids.
• Introduce modern animal husbandry methods to villagers.
• Help upgrade local livestock through a nuclear breeding system.
• Link local livestock owners to extension services and markets.

Alleviating Rural Poverty And Mitigating HEC

In 1973, government veterinarian, A.P.W. Nettasinghe (1973) studied the inter-relationship between livestock, especially cattle and elephants in regard to their feeding and the environment at the Thammankaduwa Government Farm in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. His study showed that elephants and cattle inhabiting the same area, using the same sources of food and water live in harmony.

According Bandara (2002) the dairy industry is important and has tremendous potential in developing the economy in the country and milk production has been a traditional industry that has survived thousands of years. The South Asia Eco-regional Consortium (SAEC 1998) states "Dairy production plays a vital role in maintaining sustainability and crop yields in most smallholder mixed farming systems and has provided them with a source of regular daily income and a way of cushioning the risk of frequent crop and marketing failures. Keeping dairy cows converts resources such as surplus green forage and crop residues available in and around household into cash products whereas these resources have limited alternative uses and the opportunity cost can be considered near zero (Bandara 2002).

The Department of Animal Production and Health (DAPH 1999) reports, "Reasonably productive and healthy animals, quality feed in adequate quantities year round at affordable prices, dependable and fair marketing facilities, good cattle sheds with an adequate waste disposal system are some of the important essentials for smallholders to remain in the dairy industry." According to the DAPH a minimum of 15 litres daily production is needed to earn a reasonable income from dairy farming at the smallholder level, and at the minimum three to five cow equivalents of upgraded dairy animals with an adequate cattle shed and a fodder plot of over twenty perches (1 acre = 160 perches) are needed to allow a smallholder to make this profit.

The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB 1998) reports, "The growth rate of the local dairy industry over the last decade has been estimated to be around 2.5% per annum, in contrast to the projected market growth rate of 5.2%. In 1998 the per capita availability of milk was 8.15 kg whereas the per capita consumption of milk was 36 kg. According to the NDDB within the next five years domestic milk production will cover only 25% of the requirements of the formal milk market, and the balance will be imported from overseas. The import bill to import 483 thousand tons of milk powder was US$ 107 million in 1999. There is a rising trend for the amount of milk imports. Assuming a 4% rate of real GDP growth, income and population growth alone will generate an increase in aggregate demand for dairy products of slightly over 14 million tons by 2010. This increased demand according to the NDDB provides important opportunities for domestic producers to increase their production. The Sri Lankan dairy farming sector contributes marginally to the national economy, with domestic milk production estimated to meet less than 20% percent of the country's needs and it is predominantly in the hands of small-scale farmers (Bandara 2002). Sri Lanka spends approximately US $110 million annually to import milk powder.

The consumption of milk products per head in Sri Lanka has more than doubled in the last 15 years, growing from an average of 10 litres to over 22 litres per year and at present only 6% of the country's milk requirements are produced locally (NDDB 1998). So there is huge potential for growth in the industry providing a great opportunity for smallholders who are involved in domestic dairy production, therefore, the means to increase production need to be considered (Ibrahim et al. 1999a and b).

Direct Benefits To The Community

• The farm will function as a local centre for demonstration, training, extension services and capacity building where farmers will be able to get knowledge and hands-on experience in livestock management practices such as feeding systems, housing, improved breeding practices, hygienic milk production, and preventive healthcare including disease and parasite control, and animal welfare.
• Income generation through growing grasses as out growers and via selling cereals and crop-by products.
• Communities in the buffer zone will generate an income as livestock farmers through milk, grass and compost/manure production.
• Increase fresh milk and processed milk consumption; enhance protein intake to improve the health of the local communities.
• Sustainable energy production and higher crop yields via waste recycling as compost, manure and biogas production.
• Link livestock farmers to extension services such as AI and veterinary facilities.
• Utilize crop residue such as straw, residual greenery from cereals and post harvest losses as livestock feed.
• Provide farmers participating in the program with high yield crossbred animals.
• Provisioning of facilities for farmers to access the market and enter the mainstream marketing chain.
• Minimization of elephant crop raiding as they encounter nutritious forage in the enriched buffer zone.
• Lessened socio-economic and psychological impact on farmers because they don't experience severe crop losses due to elephant raids and attacks.

Benefits To The Endangered Elephant

The fact that there is no conflict between domestic animals and elephants using the same area for feeding makes establishing pasture a highly suitable activity in the buffer zones surrounding protected forests and in elephant migratory trails.
• Increased food resources for elephants through habitat enrichment.
• Ensure availability of forage even during the dry season.
• Reduced injury and harm to elephants because they have less reasons to enter villages and fields.
• Reduction of elephant deaths or fatal accidents due to human activities.
• Less habitat degradation.


1. The expected milk production would be 8-10 L/cow/day, presuming that 8 cows would be in lactation at any given time, the total production expected is around 2,160 L per month (average 9 L/cow x 8 cows x 30 days). This will gradually increase as the heifers come in to production and having a higher number of animals in lactations.
2. The expected buffalo milk production would be 6-8 L/buffalo/day assuming all five buffalos will be in lactation and the presumed production would be 1050 L per month based on average of 7L x 5animals x 30 days.
3. The expected milk production at the beginning is 8-10 litres per day per animal with the average being more likely 9 litres per animal per day (this can be improved through good management and feeding practices and by constantly improving the bloodlines of the animals).

Phase One

• Site selection and land preparation
• Establish 10 acres of pastureland and the enrichment of habitat for elephants and livestock.
• Complete the construction of the cattle shed for 21 animals, water tanks, pens, silo, hay barn and concentrate store.
• Complete the irrigation and water supply system to the pasture and dairy.
• Acquire 10 cross-bred milk cows and 6 heifers and 5 buffalos from the National Livestock Development Board (NLDB) and private farms.
• Establish biogas and composting unit.
• Farmer training and capacity building.
• Commence milk production, marketing and monitor project impact.

Phase Two

• Select 20 motivated farmers facing intense HEC to develop the out grower system.
• Priority will be given to farmers who live adjacent to buffer zones of the forest reserve, farmers who already having dairies and farmers who have successfully participated in other SLWCS alternative land use programs such as Project Orange Elephant.
• Grassland expansion with the out grower farmers.
• Provisioning of animals, knowledge, training and consultative services to establish out grower dairies.
• Expansion of the project with the out grower farmer base.

Phase Three

• Further selection of qualifying out grower farmers.
• Provide support services to new out grower farmers.
• Provide breeding facilities to out grower farmers to upgrade the existing herds.
• Establish a milk collection and chilling centre paying a competitive farm gate price for the farmers.
• Start milk processing and yogurt and curd production for the local market under Ele-friendly label.

Project Benefits and Outputs:

1. An efficient, profitable and low cost smallholder dairy system.
2. A smallholder dairy production model that can be easily replicated.
3. A sustainable livelihood that is not susceptible to elephant depredations.
4. A higher income to marginalized farmers.
5. A proven management tool to mitigate HEC.

Exetel Staff
Posts: 3663
Joined: Sun Jan 04, 2004 2:31 pm
Location: Sydney

Re: Sri Lankan Elephant Protection Project

Post by ForumAdmin » Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:52 pm

Setting new goals and standards for dry zone dairy industry development in Sri Lanka, the Maha Mega Uyana Livestock Development Farm

The Maha Mega Uyana Livestock Development Farm, a major component of the dry zone dairy industry development project conceived by the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society and funded by Exetel Private Limited of Sydney, Australia had an official foundation laying ceremony on Thursday, February 18th 2010 at Moragaha Ulpotha in Wilgamuwa. The Chief Guest was the Honorable Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, Minister of Local Government and Provincial Councils. The main objective of the Exetel supported SLWCS dairy development effort is to develop a project that would contribute to resolving human elephant conflict by developing dry zone dairy to benefit both elephants and people. Cattle and elephants do not have conflicts and will share resources in harmony.

The goal is to develop appropriate management systems and sustainable technologies such as improved breeding, better husbandry, and rangeland and pasture management so that both cattle and elephants can continue to share resources. The SLWCS hopes to achieve these goals and objectives by establishing a model dairy project that consists of a nucleus breeding, dry zone pasture management and sustainable technology development programs. The Society will work in partnership and consultation with the Farm Animal Production & Health Department and Faculty of Veterinary Medicine & Animal Science of the University of Peradeniya, National Livestock Development Board, Department of Animal Health and Production, the Engineering and Electronic Communications Laboratory of the University of Moratuwa and other various local and national government institutions.

The foundation stone laying ceremony was well attended by all the national, provincial, and local government administrative officials of Wilgamuwa including the veterinary surgeon of the Department of Animal Health and Production regional office in Dambulla. During the placing of the foundation stone by the Honorable Minister, pirith was chanted by the most Reverend Yanananda, Chief Priest of the Anandarama Temple in Wasgamuwa. The Minister and the other dignitaries after the laying of the foundation stone participated in planting CO3 grass to initiate the project’s pasture development program. The ceremony on the main stage began after religious activities were conducted by Reverend Yanananda. After the lighting of the traditional lamp the welcome speech was given by the SLWCS Farm’s Project Manager, Samantha Mirandu who gave an outline of the aims and goals of the dairy project. Ravi Corea, the President of the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society in his speech gave an overview of the drawbacks and obstacles that hampered the development of the dry zone dairy industry in Sri Lanka.

He stressed that these challenges had to be overcome and that was one of the main objectives of the SLWCS dairy project. Mr. Corea also mentioned that one of the main reasons to develop a successful smallholder dairy model was the immediate necessity to provide farmers in intense human elephant conflict areas with a livelihood that was compatible to living with elephants. He thanked Exetel Private Limited for supporting the project through their highly visionary corporate social responsibility program which is an example that should be emulated by other private sector companies if they were committed to sustainable development. He also thanked the Honorable Minister and other dignitaries for attending the ceremony and thanked all the SLWCS staff for their cooperation and support to organize the event.

The government veterinary surgeon of Dambulla, Dr. H.M.R.U.B. Herath in his speech spoke about the subsidy programs the government was offering as incentives for farmers to adapt livestock farming and how the SLWCS project would further enable them to become successful dairy farmers. The Honorable Minister in his speech commended the SLWCS for the pioneering work the Society has done to alleviate the socioeconomic standards of marginalized communities whose livelihoods were threatened by escalating human elephant conflicts by providing them strategies to minimize their losses. He stressed the fact that SLWCS was an organization that did excellent work, had a very good record and reputation and was deeply committed to contributing to the sustainable development efforts of the national government. He called upon all those who were present especially the government administrative officers and the villagers of Moragaha Ulpotha to give their help and support to the efforts of the SLWCS to establish the farm which will herald a new era of socioeconomic development and environmental conservation and management in the Wilgamuwa region.

The vote of thanks was given by SLWCS Project Manager, Chinthaka Weerasinghe. After the conclusion of the ceremony, the Honorable Minister, dignitaries and invitees were hosted to lunch at the field house of the Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society in Wasgamuwa.

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Re: Sri Lankan Elephant Protection Project

Post by Shady » Wed Jul 14, 2010 9:11 am

SLWCS Farm Project Update - July 2010

Click here to download the newsletter: ... y_2010.pdf

Posts: 436
Joined: Wed May 23, 2007 11:19 am

Re: Sri Lankan Elephant Protection Project

Post by Shady » Wed Aug 25, 2010 9:30 am

SLWCS Dairy Project - August 2010 Update

Download it here: ... 0-SENT.pdf

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