The Elephants of Minneriya

Seeing elephants in any wild environment is always an exciting experience. Such large animals that, when they want to be, can almost make themselves invisible. It’s almost comedic as they head into the undergrowth and disappear.

Minneriya National Park is in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. It is home to a large population of elephants, especially during the dry season as they are attracted to the grass around the reservoir.

On this trip we were fortunate enough to see a large herd comprising a range of adults, young and one very newly born calf.

The calf had been born within the previous hour according to a guide who was already at the location. When we arrived it lay motionless in amongst the grass. It stayed that way for quite a while – perhaps 15-20 minutes. The mother didn’t seem that concerned. She carried on feeding. Eventually the calf got up covered in grass and unsteady on it’s feet. It then started to feed.

Just as it was getting a little more confident another young calf seeing someone younger took the opportunity to wrestle and generally pick on it. Under the watchful eye of the group around it this then carried infer a while then it was time for another feed.

As the herd moved on they always kept the same formation with the young on the inside , protected and out of reach.I hope that the photos tell a brief story of the first couple of hours of a new calf.