Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Yala Elephant: Great Photos at Daily Mail

Fantastic set of photos of Gemunu (a elephant) stealing food from visitors vehicles.

'First Gemunu pushed our driver, Janaka, off his seat and then he poked his head inside the car looking for food,' he said
'He checked each one of us with his trunk and then poked his trunk all around our Landcruiser looking for food but we didn't have any.
'All that I could think of was to stay calm, keep away from his big tusks and keep the camera steady.
'After what seemed like hours, though it was just a few minutes, he moved on to the next car. We just got out of there as fast as we could.'

1 comment:

  1. Shanthadeva WeerakoonMay 30, 2013 at 3:12 PM

    I first saw Gemunu the baby tusker somewhere in 1997/8. but Gemunu was first introduced to me by name by Sujeewa, who is a "Tracker" in Yala National Park. this was in Feb/March 1999 & I was staying at the Ondatdjee Bungalow in Yala with Peter & A.P.L. & their families. Then he was supposed to have been around 14 to 15 years old. Since then I have seen him in almost all of my trips to Yala. Those days (other than 2008-10) i used to do at least three trips a year to yala, with 8 or 10 in 2005/2006 due to the Sunami Projects that dilrukshi & i did in Kirinda.

    In 200, I saw him thrice during the two nights I spent in Yala. he was a VERY CURIOUS & NATURALLY FRIENDLY animal, leaving the herd & coming up to the vehicles. i was told by the Yala staff that this friendly & trusting nature of the tusker would eventually get it killed by humans, thinking he's going to attack them as he gets closer to villagers.
    In 2005 Jan i saw gemunu in the premises of the "Yala Village" hotel (now Chayaa Wild). this is the first time i saw it near a hotel & I was informed that staff from the Hotels around had started feeding it & gemunu got used to this "tasty & easy" food. By then he was used entering the hotel through the open reception, going through the lobby (toppling all the furniture in it's path - never destroying)& coming out from near the pool. This was actually a short cut instead of going round the main building of the hotel. One time it had come up to an unsuspecting group of driver guides & ate all their plates of yummy bites. these guys were blissfully drinking away out side their quarters, around 7.30 p.m., when gemunu joined them - uninvited! but, he never attacked any of them - only ate their food. another time time he chased a tour guide all the way from outside his chalet to the reception,only to find that the guy didn't have any food but only a bottle of Aarrack(Local Alcohol) which he dropped due to fright. my personal skirmish with him was around 8.0 p.m. i had just got out of the pool (with dilrukshi, wdau & kids still in)& walking towards the chalet when gemunu walked by the pool. i only saw him when someone from pool bar shouted "elephant,elephant" . it decided to change course & walked towards the bar. the others went inside leaving me no option but jump in to the pool. he just blew & went away but was only a about 10-15 feet from me!
    Since 2007 i have not seen him in the hotel,even though he visits often. not even this jan when i stayed there. but, i did see him in the park, in both my trips to yala this year, where he was he was raiding the open safari jeeps, looking for food. same scenario as the in the photo you have.
    This has become a very dangerous trend. even though he has not attacked / harmed any human.
    there are about four safari jeeps that has been pierced by his tusks. I also met guy from colombo whose jeep was holed by gemunu.

    my only hope is that this majestic animal does not come to an untimely end.

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