All our camps in Yala, Udawalawe & Wilpattu are Safe and Secure certified by Sri Lanka Tourism Development Authority.

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Volume 15 - February 2021

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You gotta problem buddy?

“I fix problems. You could say that I make problems... disappear. Never had a problem that I couldn’t fix.”

When I was young, there were some older elephants who had a problem with me. But you know what? As soon as I started growing up, I took care of them all... one by one. You know what I mean? Now everybody bows down... to me, the King of Yala. Nothing stands in my way now; no trees, no elephants, no cars, no houses and especially, no humans. They call me “The Bulldozer”, but I prefer Sando, that’s the name my mama gave me and I love my mama more than anything in this whole wide world. Call me what you want, but don’t call me a bad guy, that’s not who I am. See, I’ve got nothing against you or anyone or anything. Just let me be and let me go where I want, and you and me buddy, we won’t have a problem. Capisce? 

Fun Facts

Look, I’ll make it easy for you. I like Yala... all of Yala. But sometimes I like to relax over at Kumana and I always take the same route to get there. Now you know where I hang out and how I get there. So… stay outta my way. Take your pictures and videos, but just keep your distance or else we’re gonna have a problem. Be like those people at explorer by Mahoora Camp in Kumana, because they know how to respect my space and leave me alone. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go clean myself up in the lake because I just took care of a little problem called Gemunu and things got a little... messy.

Story of the photo

Wildlife photographer Kushan Jayasundara, was on safari at Udawalawe when he was alerted to Sando’s triumphant return to Yala after his altercation with his nemesis, Gemunu. Fortunately he was able to get there in time to capture this candid photo. Witnesses report that it was a brutal but one-sided fight. Sando had a few wounds, but Gemunu was worse off and lost a tusk in the fight.

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 The real touch-me-not!

Some animals bite, some run away and some, like the Indian Crested Porcupine, like to put their “back into it” and gently persuade you away from any type of petting intentions you might have.

Yep, some people do want to pet Porcupines, but most people back off when they realise that those quills are pointy and designed to hurt. Fortunately, the petting feelings are not mutual; imagine a Porcupine trying to pet people? That would be quite a thorny problem. But jokes aside, these portly creatures are one of Nature’s evolutionary triumphs and are completely unfazed by cities and farmlands encroaching on their territory. In fact, Porcupines have waddled their way all over the forests of Sri Lanka & India, the mountains of Nepal, and they have even conquered the harsh landscapes of the Middle East  and quietly claimed all of this as their own!

Fun Facts

Although cartoons would have you believe otherwise, disappointingly, Porcupines cannot launch quills at their enemies. Much to the chagrin of military leaders worldwide who hoped to train elite forces of Attack Porcupines, the longer quills found on the neck and shoulder of the Porcupines did not have launch capabilities and were mostly used to scare off predators. The shorter quills on the rest of the body do cause damage, but require the Porcupine to launch itself backwards rather awkwardly towards its targets which is considered to be a rather undignified way of doing things on the battlefield. These adorable creatures can regularly be found wandering around the peaceful surroundings of the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Udawalawe, as well as other National Parks.

Story of the photo

This was the last encounter Kushan had at Udawalawe that day, because just after this shot was taken, word of the Sando sighting came through the grapevine; fortunately he made it to Yala in record time to capture the King, fresh from battle. The porcupine was not happy at being dumped as a photography subject.

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Lost in thought

“There used to be more of us, my dad said…”

“He also said that I’m a Purple Faced Langur, but I’m not quite sure what that means. I mean, I’m a monkey and I love that I was born as one, so why do I need another label? Anyways, apparently there are five tribes of ‘our kind’ all separated by colour. What an outdated concept. Everyone should focus on chilling and having fun, chasing each other across the treetops (don’t touch the ground - the floor is Lava) and just eating the youngest leaves and the freshest fruits - Jackfruit rules! What more would you want from life?”

‘Not So Fun’ Facts

“The problem is that these human creatures are everywhere. They keep cutting down the trees and most of us have nowhere to go because we love trees and the trees are our homes! I guess that’s why dad said there used to be more of us, because less trees means less monkey homes. Humans are really mean when we visit their homelands and rooftops. They chase us away and hurt us, even though all we want is to be friends. I know it all sounds like gloom and doom, but, I’m going to stay positive, munch on some jackfruit and believe that everything will be fine one day… soon!”

Story of the photo

Surprisingly this shot was not taken at a Mahoora Tented Safari Camp where they would usually be seen. Instead, this juvenile leaf monkey was spotted at Kushan’s home garden in Colombo in early 2020. This cheeky fellow is a frequent visitor to his garden and while he isn’t a menace, his visits are a clear indication of the habitat loss his species have been forced to endure and adapt to.

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Happiness is a fat tree branch and a glorious sunset

Where else would you go for the perfect end to a succulent meal?

The poster child for being the top of the food chain, the Sri Lankan Leopard can most often be found draped out on a rock or a broad tree branch. Unlike their cousins over in Africa, these leopards have no challengers to their throne or kills, so they can peacefully “dine-in” on the ground without having to do “take-away” to the treetops. In fact, treetops are strictly reserved for beauty naps and dignified posing for photographers.

Fun Facts

Almost impossible to pick out against the foliage thanks to the rosettes on their coats, these masters of camouflage are comically done in by the tell-tale sign of their drooping tail, so keep an eye out while you’re driving by! Maybe one day they’ll figure out how safari goers are tracking them down and finally pull up their tails, but here’s hoping they never do. If you'd rather not spend your time staring intently at the trees to spot these gorgeous creatures, you can take the easy way out and make an early morning start from a Mahoora Tented Safari Camp situated on the borders of the Yala and Wilpattu National Parks and watch them walking nonchalantly along the trails inside.

Story of the photo

This lazy, juvenile sungazer was spotted at Yala National Park in mid-February 2020, towards the end of an evening safari. Kushan’s eagle eyes spotted the tell-tale swing of the leopard’s tail as they passed by and a short wait was rewarded with this fantastic shot.

 

 

Much more than just a great place to stay

"Thanks to our guide Avinka we had five great safaris staying four nights just after reopening this February. The staff made us feel so very welcome during the entire stay.

The safaries are just wonderful, and having a great guide in your vehicle makes a big difference. Avinka can spot animals you would never see and we were even lucky enough to sight leopards on the trees, close to our vehicle, and also running through the field. The wildlife is so exciting that you will have a great experience even if you don‘t see any leopards. We also had a great driver, which is essential if you drive through difficult territory. You are being taken care of the entire time, so even for those who do safaris for the first time, you will always feel safe.

The camp itself is very comfortable, you get everything you can think of, and on top of the great food being served with so much attention and friendliness. You also get wonderful vegetarian and vegan options. They put on bonfires at night, which makes it unforgettable.
When booking and making plans, you get great support from the headquarters, even if it gets difficult since you have to change your plans.
The best thing what can happen to you at the end of a vacation is when you are a bit sad to leave the place, having experienced something to remember forever, and the team does everything for this to happen. Thank you so much"

Axel S wrote, Traveled with family
January 2021

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