Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Sri Lanka Feb 2015 Hurulu Eco Park

I wanted to see wild elephants and there are numerous wildlife areas here in Sri Lanka where elephants and leopards, sloth bears, mongeese, several types of deer and such still roam freely.  We took 4WD vehicles into the park and bounced along the muddy trails through the low jungle growth.
This was our first elephant sighting, off along the tree line.  The drivers are good--they don't get too close to disturb the elephants and they don't let people out to get closer.  Guess you need a good zoom on the cameras.
Three of my cameras have now given up the ghost and these shots are from the iPhone and/or the Sony that our driver somehow managed to coax into working for a while.
The shot above is a zoom of the first elephant, but the others are about how we saw them.

The same elephant walking and munching.
He turned to look at us but didn't seem to care much.

An elephant on the roadside as we left the park area.  We bounced around for hours standing in the back of a 4WD vehicle and this was closer than we ever got to an elephant inside the park!
We didn't slow down so the picture of him got cut off but you can see it was a good size.
The roadside elephant.
Flowers at the roadside lunch stop restaurant.
The sign at the entrance to the Hurulu Eco Park, with a map of the trails in the park.  We drove most of them looking for the herds of wild elephants, but only saw two inside the park.
Our driver, Kamul, from Trincomalee came with us as we had space in the Jeep.
Myra in the open-air 4WD vehicle.
The second elephant we saw in the park seemed to be a young one, not quite so big.

A zoom of the young elephant.  You can see how they throw the reddish dirt onto their backs to keep the sun from scorching them.  The middle of the day isn't the best time to view elephants int he wild.
The landscape at Hurulu Eco Park.  Some granite rocky outcrops.  While we missed the big herds of elephants that supposedly live around here, we did see hawk eagles, a mongoose, a golden jackal, a chameleon, storks and other assorted birds.
A fanciful water lily pond in a dent in the rock at the observation tower.  It was hidden off the side and probably spends most of the time in the shade or it would evaporate.
The observation tower built on a mountain of granite in the park.  We climbed to the top for a great view but didn't spot any elephants.

We had a good weather day and got scorched in the sun from standing and holding on in the vehicle as we bounced along the muddy trails.  The two birds are actually storks circling above us.
A view from atop the observation tower.The entrance is back by the mountains on the right.
Kamul, our driver from Trincomalee,
The landscape view from the tower.
Along one of the trails we stopped to see this cist burial site that is 2-3000 years old., dating from the Iron Age.  The burials are in holes in the ground covered with slabs of rock.
You can see a few of the cist burial sites here.
A bleached elephant skull at the park entrance.
One of the typical trails we drove around on for hours searching for elephants.
The second Jeep in our group with four others from other yachts.
Driving through a big mud puddle.  The vehicle on the left is a tractor pulling a flat trailer with a load of rocks.  The guys are sitting on the rocks, bound for some place needing road work.
Muddy ruts as we let the other Jeep get in front of us for a few minutes.
My selfie didn't work but got another shot of Kamul.

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