Encounters with Elephants in Sri Lanka – Introducing Elephas Maximus Maximus!

The country’s largest land mammal, ‘Elephas maximus maximus’ or the Sri Lankan elephant is an endemic and iconic animal that is worth seeing in its natural habitat. Here are some insights into this majestic creature.

Image credit-Pixabay,gregmontani,CC0

 

Ideal for Safaris

Featuring one of the world’s highest Asian elephant densities, the island offers plenty of opportunities to see these gentle giants up close. Most herds can be found in the dry zone national parks which are ideal for those looking to embark on an elephant safari in Sri Lanka.

The Gathering

No mention of elephants in Sri Lanka is complete without highlighting The Gathering; taking place at the Minneriya National Park, this wildlife spectacle sees 200 to 300 elephants gather in and around the Minneriya Reservoir! This generally takes place between August to mid-October and can be experienced on safaris organised by Cinnamon Nature Trails and other specialised tour operators.

Other National Parks

Of course, Minneriya is not the only national park for an elephant safari. The Udawalawe, Wasgamuwa, Yala and Kaudulla national parks, as well as the Hurulu Eco Park, also let you see these creatures in the wild.

Some Interesting Facts

• Elephants are strictly herbivorous
• They spend 16 to 18 hours per day eating
• A matriarch leads the herd
• The Sri Lankan elephant is between 7 to 10 feet in height
• From the male elephants in Sri Lanka, only around 5% have tusks
• Elephants have very good memories and can recognise humans or other elephants years or decades later; hence the phrase, “an elephant never forgets!”

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Wildlife in Sri Lanka – Paying a visit to Sri Lanka’s very first inhabitants

The island of Sri Lanka prides itself for being home to a plethora of wildlife. A rare collection of birds, reptiles, mammals and fish are found in various parts of the nation making this destination a paradise for nature lovers.

Leopards in Sri Lanka

Leopards in Sri Lanka | Image Credit : Gihan Jayaweera, Leopard at Wilpattu National Park, CC BY-SA 3.0

Yala

Located in the Southernmost region of Sri Lanka, Yala is home to the nation’s most famous wildlife sanctuary. The city of Yala is located roughly 6 hours from the capital Colombo and excursions can be organized by many of the pioneers in Sri Lanka wildlife holidays and planning such as Cinnamon Nature Trails.

Udawalawe

Not too far from Yala, Udawalawe is yet another city that is famed for its wildlife park. Unlike Yala, Udawalawe does not house any leopards but the National Park in this region has an exciting collection of mighty elephants making it the best elephant sanctuary in all of Sri Lanka. Udawalawe can easily be accessed on your way back from Yala to Colombo.

Wilpattu

Wilpattu is the city where one can find the largest National Park in the island. Yet another home for the leopards in Sri Lanka, Wilpattu is also more often than not visited to spot these ferocious wild cats.

Sinharaja

A historic city in Sri Lanka Singharaja literally translates to the Lion King. Despite its name, you do not find big cats in this part of the country, but you do however have a large and lush rain forest. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, the rain forest is rich in biodiversity making it paradise for the eco-tourist.

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Bird Watching in Sri Lanka – Embark on a fantastic birding tour

With a wide variety of environments ranging from forest to jungle, wet to dry zone, and low lands to the hill country, Sri Lanka has no shortage of fascinating sites to spot diverse bird species.

BirdWatching|Via-Pixabay,adinavoicu,CC0

Sinharaja Forest

Being the most bio-diverse wet zone forest cover in the country, Sinharaja must be explored by foot. The place declared a World Heritage Site in 1989 is home to a wide variety of endemic as well as migratory bird species. You can spot a Green Billed Coucal, Yellow Fronted Barbet, Ceylon Blue Magpie, Scaly Thrush, and many more fascinating species. Sinharaja is an ancient forest home to many magical aspects and is covered by local tour operators like Cinnamon Nature Trails.

Kumana Bird Sanctuary

When it comes to bird watching in Sri Lanka, you should not miss visiting the Kumana Bird Sanctuary. This bird sanctuary features a massive swamp lake which plays host to a wide range of nesting waterbirds, especially between May and June. Migratory bird species that can be spotted here are the Indian cormorant, lesser whistling duck, little egret, purple swamphen and spot-billed pelican.

Kanneliya Forest Reserve

Accessible from the coastal city of Galle, Kanneliya is another forest reserve where one can spot many endemic bird species. Keen birders can keep a lookout for the oriental dwarf kingfisher, brown-capped pygmy woodpecker, black eagle and Indian blue robin that have also graced the reserve with their presence.

Bundala National Park

The first Ramsar wetland site in the island, the Bundala National Park offers birdwatchers some of the best avifauna sightings be it for migrant water birds or resident species. The lagoons within the park attract many birds including large flocks of migrating greater flamingos, one of the highlights of bird watching here.

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Kaudulla National Park in Sri Lanka- A wildlife spectacle

This is one of the 26 national parks in the country and was opened in 2002. It can be visited all year-round and is, therefore, a good option for the wildlife lovers.

Image by Christophe Meneboeuf, SriLanka Elephants (pixinn.net), CC BY-SA 3.0

The landscape

Located in Polonnaruwa district, the park is a dry evergreen forest spanning more than 6500 hectares of land. It also connects to the other well-known national park named the Minneriya Wildlife Park.

Best time to visit

Despite being a year-round destination, it is best visited between July and December which marks the dry season. One of the most notable sights to witness during this period is the elephant gathering; the time hundreds of elephants congregate around the water reservoirs. The peak number of elephants recorded at one sighting can exceed 150!

Wildlife

To better explore the wildlife, sign up for programs like the Kaudalla National Park Safari which is known to be organized by Cinnamon Nature Trails. You will come across black bears, deer, leopards, peacocks and many monkeys. There are 160 species of birds in the park including the Asian Spoonbill, Painted Stork, Black-headed Ibis, Giant Eagle and the many hundreds of pelicans.

Climate

The average temperature varies from 20 C to 34.5 C, with the rains being a result of the north-eastern monsoon.

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The Paradise of Wildlife in Sri Lanka – Make the best of the Sri Lankan wilderness

Both trodden and untrodden paths of jungles in Sri Lanka hold an abundance of adventure and intrigue. Despite its small size, the country boasts a wide variety of wildlife. Do read on!

Image by Patty Ho Uploaded on Wikimedia Commons by Lkcl_it, Yala National Park (Sri Lanka 2012), CC BY 2.0

Yala National Park

If you want to spot a Sri Lankan leopard, there will be no better place than the Yala National Park! Don’t get excited as you get closer to view a leopard on a tree or stalking its next prey! Sloth bears, elephants, and many other creatures can be experienced up close. This dry zone park is just one of the rustic wildlife reserves Cinnamon Nature Trails and other leading tour operators in Sri Lanka cover.

Sinharaja Forest

Staying true to its name, the Sinharaja Forest which means the ‘Lion Kingdom’ is an important biodiversity hotspot in the country. In 1988, this forest became a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its exceptional geological features. It is home to more than 50% of endemic species including mammals, butterflies as well as many kinds of insects and reptiles.

Minneriya National Park

A park that is always covered in most popular Sri Lanka wildlife tours, Minneriya is best known for its large population of migratory elephants. The park is also home to diverse species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and even fish. The surroundings too are quite beautiful with dense shrubberies and vast grassy plans.

Bundala National Park

This park is well-known as a wildlife hotspot for aquatic bird life! The most impressive aspect of the park is its terrain made up of sand dunes, scrub jungle, salt pans, lagoons and long stretches of coastline.

 

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Elephants in Sri Lanka – Unforgettable encounters with gentle giants

When we talk about the wildlife of Sri Lanka, it’s the elephants that come to our minds first. If on a holiday in Sri Lanka, you’ll come across many sanctuaries to view these majestic creatures.

Image by Rohit Varma, Elephas Maximus (19201959), CC BY-SA 3.0

About

Majestic elephants in Sri Lanka are known as the iconic constituent of the country’s wildlife. Elephants have been living for more than thousands of years and they’ve been revered from time immemorial. What’s more, Sri Lanka is home for the world’s largest herd of orphaned elephants. Elephas maximus maximus, the largest of the Asian elephant’ genus is found only in Sri Lanka!

Disposition

Sri Lankan elephants are self-aware, highly intelligent, emotional as well as robust in nature. These gentle jumbos often show emotional appeal using their head, trunk, tail, and their large ears. Even though the elephants were used for carrying, hauling and lifting heavy objects in ancient Sri Lanka, now they are mostly used in religious and cultural festivals such as ‘Kandy Esala Perahara’.

Where to spot

Those who wish to experience an elephant safari in Sri Lanka can plan your journey with one of the leading local tour operators such as Cinnamon Nature Trails for an exhilarating experience. Pinnawala is the best spot to witness a large volume of elephants. If you love spending more time with the jumbos, have a nice time bathing an elephant! Udawalawa, Minneriya, and Wagamuwa are some other places where one can catch a glimpse of elephants in the wild.

Lifestyle

At any given time, you’ll hardly find male elephants in a herd because mostly these herds include female and baby elephants. They are very active in the night and usually sleep under large trees in the daytime.

 

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Wildlife Tours and Safari Holidays in Sri Lanka – An experience with the deep, intriguing wilds!

 

Want to experience a wildlife adventure tour in Sri Lanka? Most of the paths in the country hold an abundance of nature and adventure, like those given below.

Image by Schnobby, Scenery in Yala National Park, CC BY-SA 3.0

Yala National Park

The Yala National Park is well known among many a tourist as the nature reserve that holds the highest number of leopards on earth. It is made up of dry woodlands, wetlands, grassland, sandy beaches, thorn forests, and lagoons. Apart from stealthy leopards, one can witness freely roaming mammals such as loris, fishing cat, and the sloth bear.

Wilpattu National Park

Your wildlife excursion will be incomplete until you visit the Wilpattu National Park. The name Willpattu refers to the sand-rimmed ‘Villus’ (natural lakes) that are scattered around the park. Those who are interested in Sri Lanka wildlife holidays can look forward to a multitude of wild encounters in Willpattu. If you wish to spot an array of wildlife including sloth bears, elephants and even exotic species of birds, the best time to visit the park is from February to October.

Kumana National Park

Also known as ‘Yala East’, spotting animals is not an easy task in Kumana! However, it possesses a certain authenticity and a significant bird population. The nesting season which comes in the months of May and June makes it an ideal place to visit the park. You can request organizers such as Cinnamon Nature Trails to schedule a safari to coincide with the nesting season.

Bundala National Park

This park is well-known as a wildlife hotspot for aquatic bird life! The most impressive aspect of the park is its terrain made up of sand dunes, scrub jungle, salt pans, lagoons and long stretches of coastline.

 

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The Elephants of Sri Lanka – One of the most magnificent animals of Sri Lanka

Elephants are one of the most popular animals in Sri Lanka. These gentle giant can be spotted both in the wilderness as well as hundreds of domesticated elephants too can be spotted around the country. Read on to know more about these magnificent creatures.

About

Elephants are Sri Lanka’s largest land mammal and they are a protected species of animals in the country. Known by the scientific name Elephas Maximus Maximus and they are also the largest Asian elephant species.

Habitat and behaviour

The elephants can be found living in grasslands around many of the country’s protected wildlife reserves. Female elephants and their calves live in groups and male elephants live a solitary life and they only interact with other elephants during the breeding season.

Threats faced by the elephants

Despite the efforts of the government, the population of the Sri Lankan elephants are continuously decreasing due to habitat loss and poaching.

Seeing them

You can see these gentle giants up close and personal at the elephant reserves such as Pinnawala or if you wish to see them in their natural habitats you can book an Elephant Safari in Sri Lanka from nature travel operators the likes of Cinnamon Nature Trails.

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Sri Lankan Leopards – A mystique like no other!

Both trodden and untrodden paths of jungles in Sri Lanka hold an abundance of adventure and intrigue. After witnessing the elusive leopards, one’s appetite for adventure will certainly be satisfied.

Sri Lankan Leopard| Img by: Thimindu Goonatillake via Wikimedia CommonsCC BY-SA 2.0

Sri Lankan Leopard

Also known as Panthera pardus kotiya, the Sri Lankan Leopard is the biggest of the eight known world’s leopard species. These creatures usually come out at dusk and swagger through the jungle to catch their prey. That’s why this apex predator is called the “The Prince of Dusk”. In most of the countries leopards are nocturnal and quite difficult to spot but in Sri Lanka, it’s much easier due to the lack of any other predators’ presence.

Where to spot?

For those who wish to spot this terrifying creature, there will be no better place than the Yala National Park. It is home to more than 40 leopards and the park is recognized as having the world’s highest density of leopards. If you wish to receive the best of the Sri Lanka wild life tours, plan your journey with one the local tour operators such as Cinnamon Nature Trails, to experience magical encounters of these majestic predators.

Behavioral pattern

Young leopards are often not difficult to spot because they don’t try to hide like their adults. They automatically catch all the survival tricks as they grow up. All the female leopards are better hunters while male leopards are a bit lethargic when it comes to hunting a prey.

Leopard watching

Observing these wild creatures up close is an interesting activity adored by many tourists who visit Sri Lanka. Don’t get excited as you get closer to view a leopard on a tree or stalking its next prey!

 

 

Caleb Falcon is a travel writer who specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+