The amazing elephant gathering at Minneriya National Park in Sri Lanka ‘a stunning wildlife spectacle’
CNN Travel reports how Sri Lanka is “attracting truckloads of tourists from around the world to witness a stunning wildlife spectacle”.
That spectacle is the yearly elephant gathering at Minneriya National Park, when “hundreds of elephants travel each year to the shores of an ancient reservoir built by a king more than 1,700 years ago”.
During the dry season (July through early November), the water in the reservoir recedes, and its place is taken by lush green grasses, a feast for the hungry elephants.
Since island’s civil war ended in May 2009, “word of Sri Lanka’s diverse wildlife, spectacular beaches and myriad cultural activities has spread, and the number of tourists is increasing rapidly”.
Which is creating a problem that the government and conservations are urgently considering: how to provide memorable experiences for visitors while protecting the wildlife they come here to see.
Action includes stringent policies to govern how visitors and guides behave in the park, as well as training for rangers and drivers on how to conduct themselves in the presence of wild elephants.
Environmental organizations also hope to map the comlete ecological cycle of the elephants to ensure the slaughters occurring in places like Africa and Vietnam don’t happen in Sri Lanka.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan Tourism Development Authority is pinning its hopes on the continued success of The Gathering, even building specific marketing activities around the annual event in an effort to attract more visitors to Minneriya.
Says James Thomas, a lawyer from Melbourne: “Watching massive herds of elephants bathe as the sun sets over the nearby mountains is an experience I’ll never forget. Where else you can get so close to so many wild elephants at once?”
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