Sunday, 23 March 2014

An Elephant Ride in Habarana

Habarana district - a pretty view of the local tank (reservoir) from the elephant stables
100Rs (90c) for a lovely bunch of sugar bananas
Note the Chameleon atop the central upright.
My portrait of the elephant mahout (EF24mm at f2.8)
Nat's EF105mm, f4 portrait of the mahout
While waiting for Raja to be ready for our ride, another elephant loaded up with four very large French people.
Seriously large.
It took ten minutes to lower them into place on the metal saddle.
It was hilarious to watch.
The mahout, whose job it is to guide the elephant, found loading the four fatties very funny.
I felt sorry for the elephant.
Bird's eye view form the back on an elephant. It really was not very comfortable. A bit more padding on the seats might have helped. Raja just did what elephants do: plodded along the path at a steady pace occasionally flipping his trunk over his head for extra tidbits. We fed him bananas until they ran out but amazingly, at that moment, a man appeared from behind a tree and sold us some more!
Weird to think you are sticking ther banana into their noses but the system worked well. Raja simply flipped the banana in a 180 degree hook into his mouth.
At one point Raja the elephant slowed and started munching on a tree at the roadside.
Back at the elephant home we parted company. 
Although Sri Lankan elephants are smaller than African elephants, they are still big beasts with seriously threatened habitats. We drove to Habarana to see these ellies. There are dozens domesticated but over 100 wild in nearby Minneriya National Park.

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