Why Study Asian Elephants?
As the largest land mammals in Asia, Asian elephants have their own unique needs. Despite their long history of use in captivity, wild Asian elephants are generally very shy and cryptic, and with good reason - humans have preyed on elephants throughout much of our evolutionary history.
The Udawalawe Elephant Research Project is the longest-running individual-based research project on wild Asian elephants, initiated in 2005. We study elephants so that we can understand what their social and ecological needs are so that wild populations can be managed sustainably. Support this unique project and learn more about the elephant families we know and love by donating or adopting today!
Madsen, A.E., Minge, C., Pushpakumara, T.V. et al. Strategies of protected area use by Asian elephants in relation to motivational state and social affiliations. Sci Rep 12, 18490 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-022-22989-1 [Full text] [PDF]
de Silva, S., P. Leimgruber (2019). “Demographic tipping points as early indicators of vulnerability for slow-breeding megafaunal populations.” Frontiers in Ecology & Evolution, 7, 171. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00171 [Full text + PDF] [Blog]
King, L., M. Pardo, S. Weerathunga, T.V. Kumara, N. Jayasena, J. Soltis, S. de Silva (2018). “Wild Sri Lankan elephants retreat from the sound of disturbed Asian honey bees.” Current Biology, 28:2, R64-R65. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.12.018 [Full text] [PDF] [Press]
de Silva S., C.E. Webber, U.S. Weerathunga, T.V. Pushpakumara, D.K. Weerakoon, G. Wittemyer (2013) “Demographic Variables for Wild Asian Elephants Using Longitudinal Observations.” PLoS ONE 8(12): e82788. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0082788. [Full text & PDF]
de Silva, S., A. Ranjeewa, & S. Kryazhimskiy, 2011. “The dynamics of social networks among female Asian elephants.” BMC Ecology, 11, 17. DOI: 10.1186/1472-6785-11-17. [Full text & PDF] [Blog]
de Silva, S.R., A. Ranjeewa, D. K. Weerakoon 2011. “Demography of Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) at Uda Walawe National Park, Sri Lanka based on identified individuals.” Biological Conservation, 144, 1742-1752. [PDF] [Online] [Blog].