|Copyright: Anne Marie Bokslag (amb1946)
|Date Taken: 2002-05-24|
|Camera: Minolta Dimage 7|
|Exposure: f/3.4, 1/256 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2011-06-20 6:08|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note [Dutch]|
|The Asian or Asiatic Elephant (Elephas maximus), sometimes known by the name of one of its subspecies – the Indian Elephant, is one of the three living species of elephant, and the only living species of the genus Elephas. It is the largest living land animal in Asia. The species is found primarily in large parts of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Indochina and parts of Indonesia. It is considered endangered, with between 25,600 and 32,750 left in the wild.|
The Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) is the nominate subspecies of the Asian Elephant and is the largest of the subspecies although smaller than the two species of African elephants.
The elephant population in the National Parks of Sri Lanka is somewhat diminutive in stature when compared both with historical accounts dating back to 200 BC and with the early photographs taken in 19th century during the time of colonial British occupation of the island. The smaller size could possibly be the end result of a long-continued process of removing the physically best specimens from the potential breeding-stock through hunting or domestication. Since Sri Lanka was at one time a part of peninsular India (there is evidence that there existed a land bridge between the northern part of the island and the subcontinent many thousand years ago), it is highly likely that the Asian Elephant, roaming South India at the time, “conquered” Sri Lanka literally on foot.
An important cultural symbiosis has continued to exist between the elephant and humans for over two thousand years – no perahara (religious procession) was complete without its retinue of elephants, and many large Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka had their own elephants.
The Sri Lankan Elephant population is now largely restricted to a few National Parks and Nature Reserves. Udawalawe National Park, Minneriya National Park, Wilpattu National Park and Yala National Park are prime locations for spotting elephants.
The main threat is the killing of elephants to protect crops and houses. Others are poaching, deforesting, drought and starvation. During drought seasons many elephants damage agricultural land for food. Nearly 80 elephants were killed in north western Sri Lanka, 50 in south and east and another 30 in other parts of the country, totaling 160 elephant deaths in 2006 alone.
The Asian elephant is considered endangered.
This picture is taken in May 2002 in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka, before the tsunami took place.
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