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Sri Lankan Elephant – Sri Lankan elephants, a subspecies of Asian Elephants, hold a special place in the hearts of many and this special man-animal relationship goes back millennia in Sri Lanka’s colourful history. Since Sri Lanka’s history was documented, elephants have played an immense role in all things cultural and religious. Elephants are visible in ancient palm-leaf drawings harking back to times of opulence, pageantry, rich decadence, and humbling farming roles. Even in present-day Sri Lanka, there is barely a major ceremony that happens without an elephant in attendance as most of the country’s larger Buddhist Temples tenderly care for their own resident elephant.

The Gathering of Elephants in Minneriya National Park is the largest annually recurring concentration of wild elephants in the world. It is rated sixth on Lonely Planet’s Top Ten Wildlife Spectacles in the World list. It is estimated that between 300 and 500 individual elephants are regularly witnessed at this unforgettable gathering. This natural phenomenon occurs from the month of August through to the end of October. While the research done on this phenomenon is quite limited, experts use anecdotal evidence of local villagers who speak of this massive congregation of elephants in a relatively small area during certain months of every year. It has now been established that elephants from different herds, areas, communities, and families come together to bathe, feed, interact, and, most importantly, socialize with a possibility of mating, thus ensuring that the gene pool of elephants is kept varied.

While Minneriya National Park is known for the annual elephant gathering, the best place in the country to see wild elephants in Udawalawe National Park. Wild elephants can be seen in many National Parks in the country, including Yala and Wilpattu. Big Game Camp sites in and around these national parks are regularly visited by wandering elephants, so you can have a close encounter with one of these jumbos (at a safe distance, of course).

Elephant numbers have dwindled owing to poaching throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and the human-elephant conflict in remote areas. The Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife has taken steps to ensure the conservation of these magnificent giants, so that this priceless part of the eco system survives.

 

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Safariline: (+94) 70 222 8 222
Tel: +94 (0) 115 830 833
Fax: +94 (0) 115 330 581
Head Office : 20/63, Fairfield Garden,
Colombo 08, Sri Lanka

 

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