Giant in the Land
The Sri Lankan elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) is one of three recognized subspecies of the Asian elephant, and native to Sri Lanka. Much like their relatives in Africa, elephants in Sri Lanka form matriarchal herds of more than a dozen individuals. Elephant calves live with their mothers for up to 5 years, after which males disperse and females continue living with the herd.
Sri Lanka is one of the few remaining places where you can see hundreds of wild elephants roam free. It’s not certain how many elephants there are in Sri Lanka, but according to the World Animal Protection Organization’s research report on the conditions for elephants used in tourism in Asia, there is an estimated five to six thousand elephants in the wild in Sri Lanka (though this number varies between 3,000 to 7,500 depending on sources) and 120 to 200 in captivity. This means that Sri Lanka has the highest density of wild Asian elephants worldwide.
Sri Lanka offers a tremendous amount of wildlife and biodiversity for its size, and the opportunity to observe elephants in their natural habitat is not to be missed! Read on for more information about the state of elephant conservation in Sri Lanka and where to see wild elephants in Sri Lanka.
The religious use of elephants in Sri Lanka has its origins in the early period of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. The oldest record of the use of elephants in Buddhist religious processions and festivals in Sri Lanka dates back to 3rd century BCE, when Buddhism was introduced to the Island. The oldest record of the use of elephants to draw a chariot with the Tooth Relic in a procession is from early 14th century CE, centuries prior to the commencement of the Kandy Esala Perahera in the 18th century. Source.
We encourage you to make informed choices because the best place to see elephants in Sri Lanka is in their natural habitat. The Sri Lankan elephant population is now largely restricted to the dry zone in the north, east and southeast of Sri Lanka, and elephants can be seen all year round, sometimes even outside of the national parks when they cross “elephant corridors”.
If you’ve come here looking for “The magnificent giants on the land of Sri Lanka”, we hope that the information above has helped to change your mind and that you look into more responsible alternatives, including going on an elephant safari in Sri Lanka. Observing elephants happy and free in the wild is a magical experience, here are some of the best places to see wild elephants in Sri Lanka!
-Udawalawa National Park
-Minneriya/ Kawdulla National park
-Wilpattu National park
-Yala National park