Don’t Do This To The Majestic Elephant


Most of us love elephants or ‘Alia’ as we call them here. I never get fed up of watching them waking, bathing, playing or trumpeting triumphantly.

I hail from the city known as ‘Ethugalapura’ or the Elephant Rock City and definitely feel good about it. My favourite during the army parade has always been the army mascot ‘Kandula’.

There is a beautiful book with me on ‘Kandula’ the mascot I treasure.

I have many pictures of elephants and several wood carvings of elephants I have bought from handicrafts men.

Elephants will always continue to amaze me no matter what. However, I am sad that I do not possess the knowledge of Jayantha Jayawardane, who I respectfully and affectionately refer to as ‘Elephant Man’. I am yet to meet anyone who does not love elephants for whatever reason. One of the most wonderful scenes I have witnessed is the time baby elephants scream for their milk during feeding time at the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage.

They are no different to us elephantine crybabies. I find them gentle and majestic. But, many of us fear for their existence in this county and we wouldn’t know how long they would continue to be with us.

Although the majority of us love Elephants and treat them well, a handful of inhuman Sri Lankans use and abuse them. I would never blame an elephant if it gets angry or attacks a human being when it feels threatened. It happens because we ask for it or we provoke them and push them to attack us.

The mighty elephant has got more patience than the human being.

Who are we to mistreat the majestic elephant? Ask yourself who are you to mistreat them? I ask all those who ‘proudly’ own elephants to set them free and let them live free. Swallow your foolish pride because you have no right to keep a majestic elephant in your house or even the temple premises.

I am tired of visiting Yala to see elephants because of the massive traffic blocks created by visitors on safari. I have seen them in Uda Walawe and other places but a recent visit to Minneriya was no better. I don’t think I want to be a part of it anymore; because it broke my heart.

The Jeeps surrounded them near the Minneriya tank where they had come to roam, play, drink water and relax. Many were unruly and shouting. Some parents didn’t know how to control their kids. Jeeps that surrounded the Elephants did scare the animal in its natural habitat. Some couldn’t even move properly. I saw on separate occasions how a father and mother elephant were trying to guide their baby elephant to safety from the unruly man. They looked very scared and worried for the safety of their baby. Ideally, one would expect the elephants to attack the jeeps and everyone else since they were being harassed; but, the elephants didn’t behave the way the unkind man did. They covered and protected the baby elephants from either side, looked at the ‘animal-man’ on safari and hurriedly took the baby elephant towards the thick jungle. It was very sad for me to see what we were up to. I have no doubt elephants were amused by the behaviour of man. I never call them a beast though some try to refer to them as beast. We are the real beasts. We really are. On my way out I saw several monkeys mocking at us. I wouldn’t blame them for it.

When I returned to the Aliya Resort in Sigiriya I appreciated what they were trying to do to create awareness about saving elephants. I am told that they would start an Elephant Research Centre with the help of Jayantha Jayawardane. This is most welcome. But, will the elephant be soon gone? I sigh.

A few days ago, I was returning from Kandy to Colombo and witnessed a scene many of us have seen on our roads (take a close look at our pictures). For whatever reason it hurt me a lot this time when I saw the look on the face of the elephant even from far away. I asked the driver to get closer and then overtake the car. I could see the elephant’s eyes clearly. We saw one from far but there were two of them cramped up together on a lorry. I ask the readers to kindly take a closer look at these pictures. Look at his eyes. What does it say? You DO NOT transport a majestic elephant like this. Not one; but two. Could you imagine we who boast about living in this thrice blessed land treating these animals so cruelly? But, we do. We are yet to learn how to transport them respectfully. Just as we don’t like to be caged, elephants too do not like to be caged. I still cannot get over the look on that elephant’s eyes. They were full of pain and shame for the manner in which man transported them; stripping them off their dignity.

Stand up against cruelty to the elephant! Give them the respect they deserve. Save the elephant from man- unkind.

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