Elephas Maximus Maximus – the undisputed giants of our jungles, the Sri Lankan elephant is not just an awe inspiring spectacle of creation, but holds a very special place in the history, culture and life in our island. Whether in conflict or harmony, the lives of elephants and people in Sri Lanka have been intrinsically linked from the ancient of days. A symbol of wealth and prosperity, they served the greatest of kings; a source of sheer physical strength they laboured with the commonest of men; held in high religious esteem their images are carved in stone and immortalized in murals. And in the wilds they ruled their natural kingdom in sedate gentleness, and sometimes in fierce displays of ruthlessness; but in immense herds until the thirst for sport and ivory dwindled their numbers to the few thousands who roam somewhat freely today. Whilst long ago, they inhabited the entire island – the dry, wet and mountainous zones, today they are best observed in the national parks, where we are allowed a glimpse of their lives as it was once – unfettered by mankind. Whether you witness the awe-inspiring spectacle of an ‘elephant gathering’ at Minneriya, a small family herd taking a quiet bath in a jungle pool, or the blood freezing mock charge of a rogue male in ‘musth’ – it will be a reverent experience that will capture your heart.

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