Sri Lanka elephants in wilderness are numbered 7,379 elephants in total inclusive of 1,107 baby elephants 122 tuskers. That is as per the Sri Lanka Holidays censes of Sri Lanka Elephants, or rather a basic population count based on Water Hole Count (1,533 counting posts near watering holes, irrigation tanks and lakes) carried out in September 201, involving 3500 persons in 15 Sri Lanka National Parks at a cost of USD 200,000, by the Department of Wildlife conversation of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Elephants in wilderness are spread throughout Sri Lanka Holidays wildlife sanctuaries and Wild life Parks from Mullaitivu (40,000 ha.) in northern Sri Lanka to Ruhuna Yala Wildlife Park (126,786 ha.) located 350 km away from the capital city of Colombo, in Sri Lanka Holidays Deep South of Sri Lanka. Together with several Wildlife Protected Areas adjacent to the park, namely Yala Strict Natural Reserve, Katagamuwa Sanctuary, Kataragama Sanctuary, Kumana Bird Sanctuary and Kudumbigala - Panama Sanctuary, Ruhuna Yala Wildlife Park forms a vast complex of Wildlife Protected Areas which provides a contiguous tract of natural forests, for wild animals.
In between these locations, i.e. Mullaitivu Wildlife Sanctuary and Ruhuna Yala Wildlife Park of the tropical island of Sri Lanka (62520 sq. km), herds of Sri Lanka elephants are seen in following Wildlife Sanctuaries and National Wildlife Parks too.
1. In and around cultural triangle consisting four UNESCO World Heritage Sites (culture) of Sigiriya, Dambulla, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.
Minneriya Wildlife Park (8890 ha) that encompass the Minneriya Irrigation Reservoir (ancient, renovated and in operation).
“The Gathering” of Sri Lanka Elephants by the Minneriya Reservoir, which has now become a world renowned phenomenon, is the largest single congregation (200-300) of wild Asian elephants in the world.
Wasgomuwa (Wasgamuwa) (Walas Gomuwa ) (Sinhala: of Sloth Bear) Wild life Park (36,948 ha) bordering River Amban Ganga in the north and River Mahaweli Ganga in the east is located south of the ancient city Polonnaruwa , home to a cluster of cultural attractions.
Kaudulla Wildlife Park adjoining the Kaudulla Irrigation Reservoir (ancient, renovated and in operation).
Those tourists who visit the cultural attractions of cultural triangle of Sri Lanka rarely to fail to visit one of above wildlife parks to enjoy the site of herds of Sri Lanka elephants.
2. North –East of Sri Lanka
Somawatiya Sanctuary south of Trincomalee
The tourists visiting Trincomalee as well as Somawatiya Stupa waste no time to tour Somawatiya sanctuary to enjoy the sight of elephants in addition to the cultural attraction.
3. North-west of Sri Lanka
Willpattu Wildlife Park (131, 693 ha), the largest National Park in Sri Lanka, whose pockets of low lying areas that retain water called Villu (Sinhala: water booged lands) that mak the park unique among all National Parks is located north of Kalpitya Peninsula Beach resort famous for off-shore Blue Whales and Dolphines. The distance from Colombo to Willpattu Wildlife Park is 180km.
4. East of Sri Lanka
Galoya National Park encompassing Senanayake Samudra (Sinhala: sea of Senanayake) named after Don Stephen (D. S.) Senayanyake, the father of the modern nation of Sri Lanka, the first Prime Minister of Free Ceylon.
The tourists and surfers holidaying in Arugambay Surfing Beach regularly visit Galoya National Park to witness Sri Lanka Elephants in wilderness.
5. Between Wasgomuwa (Wasgamuwa) Wild life Park and Galoya National Park to the east
Maduruoya National Park encompassing Maduriu oya rogation reservoir.
Since Maduru Oya National Park, Polonnaruwa and Ampara Districts South-west of Uda Walawe National Park
South-west of Uda Walawe National Park
being rather out of way of main cultural attractions and main beaches, it is not visited by the tourists in great frequency.
6. South of Sri Lanka
Uda Walawe National Park encompassing modern Uda Walawe Reservoir Uda Walva National Park 30,821 that spread along and over the Udwalave irrigation reservoir Udawalawe reservoir, a man-made reservoir which provides water for agriculture and hydro-power generation. and Uda walve river.
Uda Walve with its large herds of elephants is a very popular wildlife attraction among the local tourists as well as the foreign tourists. Uda Walave can be reached from World renowned gem city of Sri Lanka Ratnapura (Sinhala: city of gems)
6. South-west of Uda Walawe National Park
Sinharaja Rain Forest, a UNESCO World heritage Site, located south-west of Uda Walawe National Park, too is home a score of Sri Lanka elephants. Sinharaja Rain Forest is a must visit attraction for all wildlife and nature enthusiasts.
Lunugamvehera National Park adjoining Lunugamvehera reservoir pave way for the seasonal movement of the wild elephants in between Yala and Udawalawe National parks, Park entrance is situated 261 km (162 miles) down south from Colombo, between Thanamalwila and Thissamaharama.
Deep South of Sri Lanka
1. Lunugamvehera National Park encompassing Lunugamvehera irrigation reservoir pave way for the seasonal movement of the wild elephants in between Yala and Udawalawe National parks, Park entrance is situated 261 km (162 miles) down south from Colombo, between Thanamalwila and Sri Lanka Holidays Thissamaharama
Death of two tuskers in 2011
Following the death of two tuskers in the year 2011, the discussions took place on untimely death of elephants in captivity and wilderness: death of the temple tusker named Navam Raja at Galgaramaya, Colombo; a wild tusker called Parakrama during a mismanaged translocation.
HumanElephant conflict (HEC)
Human-Elephant Conflict of Sri Lanka, in comparison to the total population of the Sri Lanka Elephants, has now risen to staggering proportions. It has been revealed about 250 elephants are die at the hands of farmers defending their paddy fields and Chena cultivation. Some are killed by the electrocution at the large cane cultivations maintained by the sugar factories of Sri Lanka. The increasing frequency of wild elephants encroaching the villages in search of food has resulted in the death of approximately 50 villagers a year.
Decimating Sri Lanka Elephants during the British Colonial Era in Ceylon
During the British Colonial Era in Sri Lanka (1805- 1948), Sri Lanka was home to a population of elephants in the range of 15,000 to 10,000. The elephant population dwindled following the unceasing game hunting by the British Colonial Hunters during the era. The most notorious hunter was Major Thomas William Rogers (Rogers the Elephant Slayer) (1804-1845) of “killed 1400 and lost count” (during1834-1845) notoriety. The legendary hunter’s hands on the hunting rifle were so swift that no elephant could ever reach him. It called for no less than lightening speed to catch him off guard. Rogers fell dead struck by lightening in the rest house at Haputale of the Central Highlands of Sri Lanka in the year 1845. Major Skinner, the builder of Colombo-Kandy Road and Captain Galway are too on the record of having killed more than 500 elephants during the British Colonial Era in Ceylon.