Animals that have been symbolically embedded into our cultures for centuries are now disappearing at alarming rates. The importance of these animals in our lives is often overlooked, but animals are truly symbols that not only inspire us, but are essential for a healthy future. Animals are religious deities and majestic icons. They have provided companionship, carried us on their shoulders, and plowed our fields. Few are as awe-inspiring as the elephant.
For thousands of years, across Asia, humans and elephants have lived side by side in a relatively peaceful coexistence. That relationship is now being threatened due to increasing human populations and loss of elephant habitats. Elephants and humans are being forced to compete for resources, a problem that has been defined as Human-Elephant-Conflict. This predicament poses a serious threat to the elephant's continued existence. While this is a widespread concern all across Asia and Africa, it is nowhere more apparent than in the small island of Sri Lanka. What lies beneath the often-destructive consequences of human elephant conflict is a common story that both man and animal shares. That story is about family and survival.