A visit to Sri Lanka in August 2009 provided numerous elephant encounters. For pachyderm fans here are a few images.
A herd of over 60 elephants bathe in the Ma Oya river at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage about 25 kilometers west of Kandy. Most of the elephants were injured or orphaned in the wild, either as a result of the 30 year civil war or due to conflict with humans in farming villages.
Many of the baby elephants are born in the orphanage creating ever greater demands for space and food.
Mud baths and play time on the river bank.
A baby elephant with a fine hide of hair. Note how the front feet are in motion but the back remain in the standing position. This slow coordination may explain in part why baby elephants have a propensity to stumble and fall.
A working elephant with his lunch box and mahout.
The patio of our room at the Elephant Corridor hotel near Sigiriya opened out onto the jungle and a dried-out lake bed - we were thrilled to welcome a passing visitor for early breakfast.
Pericolo! The hotel kindly provided warnings in both Italian and English about the potential danger of a chance encounter with wild elephants. The scatological evidence behind the warning sign suggests that the danger was close at hand!