Elephants' Stories in Sri Lanka, 2011




Elephants are revered in Sri Lanka [01]. This is from the very beautiful Anarad temple [02]. We even saw an Elephant being given a lift [03] from the Elephant sanctuary that we visited [04] near Kandy.



The elephant sanctuary was a place where old elephants that could no longer  work could be retired and young orphaned elephants [05] could be cared for [05a] until they were old enough to be released into the wild. There were no physical barriers [06] between the elephants and the visitors, just a few mahouts (elephant trainers) standing around with large poles. 



Everyday the elephants were taken for a bath [07] in the river to help them keep cool. They were obviously in a hurry to get in [08] and gave great entertainment to the watching crowds  but were carefully supervised by their mahouts [09, 10]. 



Once the elephants were in the river [12], spectators could get quite close to them [13]. When it was time to stop bathing and head back to the enclosures, [14] the elephants were led by one of the dominant females.



Down the hill from Kandy through the forests was the Minneriya National Park [15]. Here we went on safari [16] (along with lots of other people! [16a]) to see elephants living in the wild [17]. 





 We encountered a huge herd living by a lake and got very close to some of the animals when they approached us [18]. Down by another arm of the lake [19] was a huge herd of buffalo and various birds, including pelicans, great egret, sacred ibis and storks [20]. As dusk began to fall, it was time to leave the park [21] and follow the caravan of departing vehicles [22] out of the park through the thorn scrub that shielded the open savannah [23].