Elephants are one of the ‘big five’ wildlife species ; their survival is one of the ‘holy grails’ of conservation. Unfortunately, because of their size and migratory behaviour, elephants often come into conflict with people. This is especially true in densely populated Southeast Asia. This study from Sri Lanka looks at one strategy to address this problem – electric fences. It found that, although electric fences do help to mitigate conflicts between elephants and humans, they do not completely eliminate the problem and do not offer a ‘stand alone’ solutions. The study looked at why electric fences do not work and found that poor, ad-hoc decisions were the key factor determining success or failure. This implies the need for an integrated approach to solve the problem of human-elephant conflict (HEC). Such an approach should involve comprehensive land use planning and habitat enrichment along side well-planned electric fencing where appropriate.