Elephant in Yala, Sri Lanka 2012

Earlier in 2012 when we were in Sri Lanka we visited the Yala National Park in the South East corner of Sri Lanka. We were in a jeep on a narrow dirt road when we came across this elephant blocking the path. The elephant seemed to be quite happy in the middle of the road but when three jeeps came close to it, it got nervous and retreated into the bush.

Elephant in the Road, Sri Lanka
Elephant in the Road

When we came across the elephant in the middle of the road it seemed quite nervous and unsure of itself. The video below shows the elephant on the road and also the jeeps that were trying to pass it. I was amazed! Coming from Africa this is something we definitely wouldn't do. We would put our vehicles in reverse and get away from any elephant blocking our path. I suppose, if you look at the video and the pictures, Sri Lankan elephants are much smaller than the African elephant I also suspect the Sri Lankan elephants in Yala are more familiar with the jeeps that pass them everyday and perhaps are more familiar with people but I was still amazed that the jeeps advanced on the elephant as they needed to get the tourists back to the town since it was late.

The video above shows the scenario as it unfolded. I personally thought it was great to be so close to nature and animals again. My only regret is that we didn't turn off the engines and watch the elephant go about its business. When we first came across the elephant it was walking down the road and was minding its own business.

Elephant in the Road, Sri Lanka
First Encounter

When more jeeps approached the jeep it became increasingly nervous and tried to back off initially but it still did try to hold its ground. I think it just wanted to walk down the road.

Elephant in the Road, Sri Lanka
Elephant Unsure of Itself

The elephant started to back off as the jeeps approached.It initially tried to back off down the road but with the jeeps still advancing it looked for a different place to move to.

Elephant in the Road, Sri Lanka
Elephant Backs Off

The elephant finally backed off into the bushes and the jeeps shot past. Everyone and the elephant, were safe. It was a great experience.

Elephant in the Road, Sri Lanka
Elephant Backs Off

It was wonderful being so close to nature again and to see the animals in their natural habitat. I still think it is crazy to advance on an elephant, even if it is smaller than an African Elephant, but at least the story ended happily for everyone. I still would have preferred to turn the engine of and just watched the elephant, but it was getting late and the jeeps needed to get us out of the park before it closed.

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