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Butterfly Garden - Autumn 2016
As a result of training by experts and special workshops in schools, a herbal and butterfly garden was built and developed.
Of the more than 240 proven butterfly species in Sri Lanka, 24 are endemic.

Everyone involved in the project is very inspired and enthusiastic about this project, with first "visible" results in the autumn 2016.




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ASERC Nature Committee
A conservation action-team was founded - the so-called "ASERC Nature Committee", consisting of selected students of the individual colleges.

During the weekly school meetings they regularly provide information about current ASERC nature conservation activities and invite other students to participate actively. 

Equipped with an own dress and a member-card on a lanyard, they are recognizable as "ASERC Nature Committee-Member" for all other students in the resprective school.


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Drawing Contest - Spring 2016
A big drawing contest with a total of 261 participants on "Friends of Fauna & Flora" was held in spring 2016.
The colourful illustrations often show the "grey giants" in their protected areas and every student has written down his own little story.
Five winners were awarded from each age group and a certificate for the outstanding, creative performance was handed over.

Painting: “Environment” by L.A. Sanduni Nimesha - Grade 06

Essay: The environment is the valuable dowry given to us by Nature. We ourselves who depend on it, and also helpful to us, should protect it. We cannot imagine how valubale is the resources of glittering green flora, water, large forest tracks and the wildlife in our country.

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"Our kids from today and tomorrow in the middle of our point of view for the way forward!"

The policy with a 3-year program was developed for special schools, who support conservation ex-situ and in-situ.
The document is used to guide and inform the practice of conservation education and provide a coordinated approach for the next 3 years and includes a diverse offer with numerous activities for students aged five to seventeen years.

This living document will evolve to meet the changing needs of education philosophy and will be reviewed by ASERC regularly.

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dsc_0254.jpg2016 - Newest Conservation & Environmental Education Programs of ASERC
Since 2005 ASERC is engaged to reduce the massive conflict between humans and elephants. The contribution is complex and includes animal protection, research, development as well as environmental education, especially in the marginal areas of the National Parks Yala and Udawalawe.

In January 2016, extensive educational and environmental protection projects could be launched by ASERC in some new schools.
All three schools are located north of the Udawalawe National Park in a more or less dry area, which is characterized by rice cultivation.

Corresponding planning and preparatory work for this larger-scale new ASERC school project were already carried out in 2015.

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ASERC Conservation Education Mission Statement

ASERC wants to create awareness among the students and their families of the fact that the long-term survival of a thriving human population on earth is fully dependent on the rapid development of sustainability on a broad scale.


Students get the possibility to learn about the many facets of ecosystems. The take-home message will be the urgency for nature conservation measures.




microchip pinnawala.jpgThe Vienna Zoo donated two micro chip reader and 150 micro chips for the elphants at Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
For the first time in Sri Lanka, two baby elephants at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage were fitted with micro chips, so as to monitor their breeding patterns, intensively, to consequently promoting animal exchange programmes.

The micro chips as well as two micro chip reader were donated by the Vienna Zoo, Deputy Director Harald Schwammer handed them over to the Director of National Zoological Gardens, Anura de Silva, at a ceremony.

Within a period of a month, all the elphants being cared for at the Pinnawela Orphanage will be equiped with micro chips.

feeding bottles img_5515a.jpgThe Vienna Zoo funded feeding bottles for the elephants at Transit Home
Gaby V. Schwammer (Vienna Zoo & ASERC Project) had the pleasure to welcome Vijitha Perera(Deportment for Wilflife Conservation and vet at Transit Home) at the Vienna Zoo recently and handed over new feeding bottles for the elephants at Transit Home.

The Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home is a facility within Udawalawe National Park in Sri Lanka that was established in 1995 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation. Its primary objective is to rehabilitate orphaned elephant calves for ultimate release back into the wild.

logo.gif2013 International Elephant & RhinoCONSERVATION & RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM
Presented by the International Elephant Foundation and the International Rhino Foundation
Hosted by the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium
August 26th - 30th, 2013

The pressures on wild populations of elephants and rhinos are increasing at an alarming rate. Poachers are killing elephants and rhinos at levels never seen before. Wildlife habitat continues to disappear while human-wildlife conflict increases. Break-through scientific investigation into disease, nutrition, behavior and reproduction of elephants and rhinos in human care, ambassadors for their species, is contributing to the future survival of wild populations. 

We invite elephant and rhino conservationists and researchers from around the world to present conservation projects and research
results on field conservation, conflict mitigation, management, health, disease, nutrition, reproduction and behavior at our third joint International Elephant and Rhino Conservation and Research Symposium. Come join us, meet your peers from around the world, share your experiences and best practices, make new friends and develop new professional associations.

Visit to register or for more information.

Workshop "Zoological collection planning and management in Sri Lanka" at the Dehiwala Zoo & Elephant Management Course at Pinnawala & at Transit Home
carried out by Vienna Zoo in the project framework of ASERC, funded by WAZA and the Vienna Zoo

From June 27 to July 3, 2011 the workshop "Zoological collection planning and management in Sri Lanka" took place at the Dehiwala Zoo and the "Elephant management course" at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage and at Transit Home.

Instructors were Dr. Harald Schwammer, Zoological Curator and Vice Director of the Vienna Zoo, Gaby Schwammer, Head of Education at the Vienna Zoo, and Dr. Wolfgang Zenker, Zoo- and Wildlife Veterinarian. Dr. Harald Schwammer and his team have an experience in performing such programs since more than 10 years and also established master plans for different zoos in range countries.

The workshop consists in part of lectures, but also includes an important practical component wherever possible and encourages discussion. The combination of theoretical information that can be practically applied right away under supervision of the instructors has in the past and in other institutions proven to be an effective way of incorporating new ideas into the daily routine. 

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logo.gifRotterdam Zoo & International Elephant Foundation Present
October 10-14, 2011

The International Elephant Foundation and the Rotterdam Zoo are pleased to announce the International Elephant and Rhino Conservation and Research Symposium October 10-14, 2011. This year IEF welcomes to the elephant symposium our colleagues working with all species of rhinos, both in human care and in the wild. Elephants and rhinos face similar problems in the wild (habitat loss and poaching), and many animal managers, field conservationists, veterinarians and researchers work with both rhino and elephant. We invite our colleagues from around the world to present your conservation projects and research results.

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LOST TRAILS IN YALA EAST - Book Launch on November 23, 2010
at the publisher Dayawansa Jayakody & Co. 

 book presentation lost trails.jpgbook presentation lost trails2.jpgGaminie Vijith Samarakoon ( Author, right), Vimasha Sanjeevi Samarakoon (Gaminie's daughter, left) and Lalith Seneviratne (Editor, centre)


"SAGA OF THE ELEPHANTS IN SRI LANKA" - Part 2 is published!

saga2a.jpgsaga2b.jpgExtracts from Loris Volume 11 (1965) - Volume 20 (1993)
Part 2

Compiled by:
Douglas B. Ranasinghe
Sanjeeva Ratnapala
Lalith Seneviratne
Harald Schwammer
Gaby Schwammer
Hant Perera

Shortly after Part 1 of the "Saga of the Elephants in Sri Lanka" was published, also Part 2 is available now and is presenting all relevant articles from "LORIS", the Journal of the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka, published on elephants from 1965 to 1993.
Part 2 is providing amazing stories, facts and information - it enlightens us of ancient myths and legends and shows us how awareness has developed for nature and for today´s biggest living land mammal.

ISBN 978-955-9045-19-9, published by the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka, printed by Y.N. Print Graphics Ltd., Sri Lanka.


cover - saga of the elephant1.jpgcover - saga of the elephant2.jpg"Saga of the Elephant in Sri Lanka"
Extracts from Loris Volume I (1936) - Volume 10 (1964)
Part 1

Compiled by:
Douglas B. Ranasinghe
Sanjeeva Ratnapala
Lalith Seneviratne
Harald Schwammer
Gaby Schwammer
Hant Perera

This book includes all relevant articles about elephants in Lori Magazines, published from 1936 to 1964. Therefore it is a historical document about Sri Lankan Elephants. Part two will be published soon, providing with all articles up to today.

This Edition is result of a cooperation between the "Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka" and the "Austrian- Sri Lankan Elephant Research and Conservation Project".

ISBN 978-955-9045-19-9, published by the Wildlife and Nature Protection Society of Sri Lanka, printed by Y.N. Print Graphics Ltd., Sri Lanka.

Chandani - The Daughter of the Elephant Whisperer
Film presentation at the Vienna Zoo on September 28, 2010, 07:15 p.m.

A film by Arne Birkenstock, Documentary, 2009, 35mm

The destiny of 16-years-old Chandani from Sri Lanka is closely bound to a little injured elephant, who has been taken in the elephant orphan hospital of the Pinnawela National Park.


Magama Central College, Tissamaharama


After the Laginagala Junior College Project, the Magma Central College is the second ASERC sponsored education project teaching Biology, Maths and English.

Magama Central College is situated at a distance of 275 Km from Colombo the capital city of Sri Lanka. It is administered by the Hambantota District School Zone. Around 750 students from Magama village and other surrounding villages attend this school that was established in 1945. The nearest town is Tissamaharama about 12 Km distant.


Mo/ Laginagala Junior College


Ceremony held on 26th May 2010 at the Mo/ Laginagala Junior College to felicitate the students who passed the Year 11 GCE (O Level) National Examination aided by the revision classes sponsored under the ASERC Project.

The school achieved a pass rate of 70% whereas the national average was 52%. 



Also this year the students and teacher of the Mo/ Laginagala Junior College made a beautiful and very special hand-written book with the titel "Lets Protect Our Animals & Environment" in English language with colour-painted pictures. This compilation was dedicated to Mrs. Gaby Schwammer who is responsilbe for the Conservation-Education Training and Awareness Program of ASERC. 

The book is presenting their knowledge about life, culture and nature in Sri Lanka and their thoughts on their environment and how to protect it.
  The students who wrote the best six essays were gifted with a prize.



"Lost Trails in Yala-East" - Gaminie Vijith SAMARAKOON
from the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka

book cover lost trails 1.jpg

This book was first published in Sinhala language and is now also available in English. The author relates his memorable experiences as a wildlife officer, focusing on his time spent at Yala-East National Park (presently Kumana National Park), from 1981 to 1985.

ISBN 978-955-551-739-3, published in English by Dayawansa Jayakody & Company, Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Available at:


ASERC helps with the Captive Elephant Registration and Monitoring Initiative of the Department of Wildlife Conservation.  
ee1.jpgThis milestone initiative will for the first time register and compile a database of all the elephants under human care in Sri Lanka. 

For this purpose, Eng. Lalith Seneviratne from the ASERC Project handed over a micro-chip reader, the first 100 microchips and a grant of Euro 2,000 towards the cost of the programme, to Mr. Ananda Wijesooriya, Director General of the Department of Wildlife Conservation.



International Elephant Conservation & Research Symposium 2010

logo.gifThis important international Symposium was held at the Kwalata Game Ranch in South Africa from January 25 to 29, 2010 and concentrated on the research and conservation needs of captive and wild populations of elephants.

ASERC funded the participation of two Sri Lankan elephant specialist who will present their work at the conference.

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1st ASERC Drawing Contest
held in Laginagala Junior School (Laginagala Kanishka Vidyalaya)


After a few years of conservation education work in the Udawalawe National Park area, it is amazing how intensive and effective the results are. New awareness has been created under the umbrella of ASERC.This gave rise to the first ASERC Drawing Contest in 2009 during the month June and July. The students were invited to participate under the specific topic “elephant, the big grey one and his environment”. The whole equipment for the contest was founded by ASERC.  

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ASERC sponsored vet course at the Peradeniya University


On July 4, 2009 the 4th Short Course on Health and Anesthesia in captive Elephants took place at the Postgraduate Institute of Science (PGIS) of the University of Peradeniya in Sri Lanka. The course was organized by the Board of Study in Zoological Sciences of the PGIS, course coordinater Dr. Ashoka Dangolla and was sponsored by the ASERC.

School book of MO/ Laginagala Junior College

This very special hand-written book in English language with colour-painted pictures was made by students and teachers of the Mo/ Laginagala Junior College. It is presenting their knowledge about life, culture and nature in Sri Lanka and their thoughts on their environment and how to protect it. 

ASERC is funding a science (biology), math and English tuition programme for rural schools in human-elephant conflict areas as this knowledge will enable children to be more inquisitive and aware of their sourroundings and sensitive to the environment. ASERC is organizing school field excursions to the Udawalawe National Park, Transit Home but also to the Dehiwela Zoo and the Natural Science Museum in Colombo.

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Gaminie Vijith SAMARAKOON from the Department of Wildlife Conservation in Sri Lanka published this valuable book about the beautiful fauna but also history and culture of the Yala National Park in Sri Lanka.

Yala is the largest National park in Sri Lanka. It is situated in the southeast region of the island in the dry zone. Much of the reserve is parkland, but it also contains jungle, beaches, freshwater lakes and rivers and scrubland and is well known for is wide range of wildlife.

ISBN 955-551-205-1, published in Sinhala language, an English translation is already in preparation. 


"Decades with wild elephants - experience of a wildlife veterinarian"

The book of Dr. Vijitha Perera (Wildlife Veterinarian) describes the long-lasting work with elephants in Sri Lanka and gives a lot of information about the elephant´s life and biology but also about his veterinary work and the human-elephant conflict problems.

ISBN 978-955-51211-0-1, published in Sinhala language, an English translation is already in preparation. 



First picture from right to left: Harald Schwammer with Hant Perera, Arne Birkenstock and the rest of the film crew, the researcher Nicole Weissenboeck from Vienna and the vet team of the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Second picture: Sunamabanda, main mahout, during the film shooting

The documentary film tells the story of Chandani, who would like to became the first female mahout of Sri Lanka. The film is in post-production.

The film is a production of Fruitmarket Kultur & Medien and Tradewind Pictures in co-production with SWR/ WDR/ ARTE and Dr. Peter Bach.

For more information about the film click here F

Dr. Vijitha Perera, a Sri Lankan Wildlife Veterinarian is winning an award for his scientific presentation – congratulations!

Dr. Vijitha Perera, Wildlife Veterinarian at the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation gained an award for his oral presentation at the International Conference on Diseases of Zoo and Wild Animals held at the Zoo Beekse Bergen (Netherlands) in May 2009. The presentation title was “Mortality and morbidity of wild elephants (Elephas maximus maximus) of Sri Lanka, as a result of liver flukes (Fasciola jacksoni) infestation”.

His second presentation was a poster with the topic "Immobilization of free ranging elephants in Sri Lanka”. ASERC gladly sponsored the travel costs for the participation to this conference. 

For viewing the abstract please click here  F

Dr. Vijitha Perera is visiting the Vienna Zoo 

After the conference in the Netherlands Dr. Vijitha Perera visited Dr. Harald Schwammer at the Vienna Zoo for having further discussions and project meetings. 

For more photos  F

International Elephant Conservation & Research Symposium 2008

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Sri Lankan elephant specialists presented their work at the International Elephant Conservation and Research Symposium 2008 in Thailand.                                  


ASERC sponsored vet course at the Peradeniya University, Sri Lanka

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Mr. Pramuditha Dewasurendra is working as one of six vets for the Sri Lankan Wildlife Department and responsible for the eastern region of Sri Lanka. The course at the prestigious Peradeniya University in Sri Lanka has a length of one and a half year and is very useful for his field work as a wildlife vet. The main topics of the course are geology, bio diversity, environmental pollution and bio statistics.