An iconic animal, elephants in Sri Lanka are very much a part of the island’s identity. However, conservation efforts are vital if these gentle giants are to survive.
The largest subspecies of the Asian elephant, the Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) is endemic to the island. While the country was once home to around 20,000 elephants, currently there are only about 5,000 some of which can be seen on a safari tour in Sri Lanka.
National parks including those at Minneriya, Yala, Udawalawe and Kaudulla are ideal for elephant safaris organised by tour specialists such as Walkers Tours. One of the key elephant hotspots is Minneriya where between June and September you can witness “The Gathering” that features hundreds of elephants in and around the park’s reservoir.
Sadly, due to the expansion of human habitation and the loss of natural habitats, the human-elephant conflict has claimed many lives, mostly elephants. Farmers and villagers look to protect their crops and lands, while elephants are driven to find food and water; this deadly cycle continues every year. Throw illegal poaching into the mix and you will see why elephant conservation is vital.
Amongst the efforts being made to conserve this endangered animal is the introduction of tougher penalties for those harming or poaching wild elephants. Other initiatives include using electrical fences or infrared alarm systems to keep out elephants from human habitations without harming them and the proposed setting up of Managed Elephant Reserves (MER). Hopefully, such efforts will help in conserving these majestic animals.
Auburn Silver is a travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world. Google+