Gail's Elephant Diary
HAPPY ELEPHANTS! Watching elephants bathe in the Maya Oya River is a great experience. Most of all I love to watch the juveniles who are just like any other young creatures. So eager to get into the river, they rush through the village with the rest of the herd, jostling each other to get ahead and be the first in the water. At first they seem to just adore to be surrounded by water thoroughly loving this twice daily ritual, continually taking water up their trunks and swishing it back over their bodies. What a great feeling that must be?
Five young elephants have wandered over to a deeper area of the river, where they totally submerge themselves in the water, obviously enjoying the feeling of weightlessness. Ducking under the surface and rolling around, clambering over each other and sinking back into the water, a look of utter contentment on their faces.
This part of the Maya Oya River is quite wide and on the far side are lush forests including palm, rubber and banana trees. Suddenly I notice another group of juveniles ambling across the rocky river bed to this side, lolloping along as if so excited to get to the other side with a feeling of mischievousness, as they get further away from the careful eye of their Mahouts. But the Mahouts seem relaxed and let them continue with their adventure. The youngsters wade out onto the narrow ‘beach’ and then start to climb the steep bank of a rich red soil. There are around a dozen of them, probably ranging from 5 to 8 years old. Oh, I can now see what they are up to! Some of the older ones are now on the top of the bank and the game is to slide down the muddy bank, Oh what fun! One or two of the younger ones are trying to scramble up the bank, but just keep sliding back down, again great fun. Oh to be an elephant. Hours of pleasure for them and me, thank goodness I have got some good binoculars.
Oooops, 3 elephants are now wandering off into the forest, investigating the tasty foliage as they go, I’m now panicking to see if the Mahouts are watching, but they leave them for a few more minutes, before crossing the river themselves to encourage them back to the herd.