Lily's story

The greatest birthday present I have ever given myself!


One of my dearest friends, Julie, had flown to Sri Lanka to spend my birthday with me. I had gone on and on to her for years and years about my love for elephants.


Prior to her arrival in Sri Lanka, I had found out about the Elephant Transit Home – where elephants were rescued and taken for rehabilitation prior their return into the wild. They had a foster parent scheme, whereby I could sponsor an elephant for between three and four years, until the Doctor deemed the elephant fit enough to manage on its own, in its natural environment.


Within 2 days of Julie's arrival – we were standing in front of Mr. Wilson at the Elephant Transit Home, declaring the need to foster an elephant!


This is the day I met and named Lily. She was standing amongst her friends, varying in size, health and condition – all being lovingly cared for by Dr. Suhada and his team. In all fairness, she was not in a good way - however, her skinny frame, Mohican hair, with one ear bent slightly and those haunting eyes  beckoned me! She was the one!

So, off we went, back to the Colombo Office to meet Mr. Herath to pledge my promise!

At this time I was a volunteer at a school in Colombo. I visited her whenever I could during my weekends and holidays. She became a big part of my life and whenever I met anyone – or heard from anyone overseas – their first question was – How’s Lily?


Over these years I watched her grow from her sad, forlorn little frame into a cheeky girl, trying to take her friends milk from the hose at feeding time, at times causing havoc. She became healthy, lively and in her own time – ready to go home – where she belonged. I was informed regularly of her progress by ETH also.


I went along for her release with my husband – and sobbed! Watching her being released  from the truck by Dr. Suhada  was everything the team had worked for and indeed everything that was right for Lily – but I sobbed! All around me people are taking pictures and my husbands friends are mumbling – “I bet she doesn’t cry like that when you go away!” – and all I could see was Lily, disappearing into the Jungle with her friends. One of the greatest, emotional rollercoaster days of my life.


I could not end this page without mentioning the truly amazing work of all people concerned at ETH. In particular, at the time I adopted Lily, Dr. Suhada, Dr. Tharaka Prasad and their team of people, who put in incredible hours, incredible care and are an example to us all. Bless you and thank you.

Created by Christine Olivarès