From Spotting Elephants to Riding Them
If spotting a herd of elephants is on your bucket list, then Sri Lanka is the place to travel to. Believe it or not, I saw more elephants than cats during the entire time I was there. Sounds funny, doesn't it? For those who have lived in Qatar for a long time, we know how there's no place in Doha where we can't go about without seeing a cat lurking around. The same goes for elephants in Sri Lanka - on the road, at the river, the zoo, the national park - you name where, they are there! A visit to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage showed us how an elephant took bath, ate the bark of the tree, and most of all - a variety of elephants.
The orphanage only allows you to watch the elephants, and have no other extra activities. However, each elephant there has a story, and it is really touching to hear them. During our time there, there was a very heavy rain, and our visit was cut short for this reason. However, we did see what had to be seen, so it was a trip fulfilled.
We stopped at an Elephant Park close by for a ride. Sitting on a bare backed Elephant is hard - really hard. Oh, and man I realised the power of an elephant hair. It just stands like thorns, and yes it pokes! It was kind of a scary ride but an experience nevertheless which I can now strike off from my bucketlist.
What I noticed during my stay at Sri Lanka was the Government Initiative for the preservation and conservation of their wildlife species, specifically the elephants. On doing a little research this is what I found.
The Sri Lankan subspecies is the largest and also the darkest of the Asian elephants, with patches of depigmentation—areas with no skin color—on its ears, face, trunk and belly.The Sri Lankan elephant population has fallen almost 65% since the turn of the 19th century. Today, the Sri Lanka elephant is protected under the Sri Lankan law and killing one carries the death penalty.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” ~ Ibn Battuta