Runaway Photo: The Day I Got Smelled by Elephants in Sri Lanka

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Runaway Photo: The Day I Got Smelled by Elephants in Sri Lanka

Wild Elephant in Sri Lanka

Wild Elephant in Sri Lanka

 

A big male elephant lifted his trunk toward us. Looked like he was yawning, or talking.

 

“He’s smelling us.” 

 

Said our guide, smiling. Elephant’s sense of smell is four times better than a bloodhound. The first elephant we saw was quite curious about us. I thought elephants would be terrified by humans, but they seemed pretty calm. He didn’t turn around, just casually walked parallel to us.

 

Seeing wild animals is one of the best activities to do in Sri Lanka. This tear-drop shaped island is amazingly diverse with its nature and wildlife (it has the highest biodiversity density in Asia). It is a home to birds, leopards, elephants, monkeys, and many more wild animals.

 

We went to Hurulu Eco Park, that is located right next from Minneriya National Park. This is the season when the elephants are hanging out at the eco park region, before they move to Minneriya in a few weeks. We rented a safari jeep for 6,000 Rs (from Dambulla to Hurulu and back), for a half day tour. Entrance fee was 1,000 Rs each (because we are foreigners), and they charged 750 Rs for the car.

 

We didn’t see any elephant for the first half an hour. So many birds, but no elephants. Unfortunately the grass was pretty high, made it hard for us to stop them. We drove around for a while, and our guide finally spotted a big male elephant. He drove into the bush to follow him. And there he was, the beautiful gray giant, with curious eyes. He was graceful. Seeing the delicate movement of the trunk with 150,000 muscles reminded me of the human-like hand of orangutans. It was a magical moment. I never thought I’d see a while elephant this close.

 

For 2.5 hours, we saw about fifteen elephants, including families and very small babies. The babies were shorter than the grass – I could only see the back of them. It was an amazing experience.

 

Due to my love of animal, visiting animals became one of the favourite activities during my travel. The passion and love led me to visit and photograph orangutans in Indonesia, panda bears in China, gray whales in Mexico, and now elephants. I’m no master at wildlife photography, but I tried my best to capture this beautiful gray giant.

Please enjoy!

 

Mud acts as sunscreen for the elephants

Mud acts as sunscreen for the elephants – they get sun burns too!

Hurulu Eco Park

Vista at Hurulu Eco Park

Baby eagle at Hurulu Eco Park

Baby eagle in the nest

Male elephant looking at us

Male elephant looking at us – male elephants spend majority of their time alone of in a same-sex group

Male elephant

Male elephant

Male elephant

A very classic scene of elephant in wild – loved it!

Elephant behind the bush

Elephant behind the bush

Male elephant

There were a lot of birds at the park

Green Bee-eater

This pretty one is green bee-eater

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Rose-ringed Parakeet

Imperial Green Pigeon

Imperial Green Pigeon – never heard of the word ‘imperial’ with pigeon

Small male elephant in the bush

Small male elephant in the bush – the grass was really tall!

Hurulu Eco Park

Hurulu Eco Park

Male elephant spotted from the observation hut

Male elephant spotted from the observation hut

Elephant family spotted right near the main road

Elephant family spotted right near the main road

Mom and calve elephants

Mom and calve elephants

 

 

Juno Kim
Juno Kim
Juno Kim, a happiness-seeking storyteller. Photographer, writer, and trained mechanical engineer. Life-long nerd. I left the cubic farm to follow my true love: the world. A firm believer of serendipity, astronomy enthusiaster, and living by passion and love in life. Currently, on a quest to discover stories and find the place where I can call 'home'. Follow my journey through @RunawayJuno and Google+ .

14 Comments

  1. Stephen says:

    Beautiful shots! I love elephants! It was an amazing day out there, glad to have shared it with you.

  2. Federico says:

    Great photos and a wonderful experience!

  3. I feel like I’m there with those photos! A great visualization tool, thank you!

  4. Erica says:

    How did you see that parakeet? I would have looked right past it!

  5. Abby says:

    The birds are sooo pretty!! Amazing elephant shots — wow!

  6. Ayngelina says:

    Such great photos Juno and that title really made me laugh.

  7. Julia says:

    I loved the elephants in Sri Lanka! I never made it to this national park, but I did go to Pinnawela orphanage. Great photos.

  8. Alex says:

    Um, WOW! I’m pretty sure Sri Lanka just made my bucket list! Nice stuff girl!

  9. So cool! Will definitely be heading to Hurulu Eco Park when we head to Sri Lanka in 2 weeks

  10. I had no idea that you could see elephants like this in Sri Lanka. What an awesome experience – and great pictures to show for it!

  11. […] down, one of my favorite travel moments! Felt so great to see them in the wild, rather than in the zoo. They were graceful. What a special […]

  12. Ah, Great pick for the title and very nice photos!

  13. […] down, one of my favorite travel moments! Felt so great to see them in the wild, rather than in the zoo. They were graceful. What a special […]

  14. Great Picture collections!!! 🙂 Thank you for your comment!

  15. you guys are so lucky. The calf was around and she did not even perceive you as a threat! You are special! Great pics by the way- birds- the icing on the cake!

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