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Volume 21 - August 2021


Dear Colleague

As part of our efforts to provide an enriched experience to our loyal partners and guests, we are happy to present the humorous and information-packed Volume 21 of the Ceylon Wilderness Digest. 

Happy reading! 

Eco Team - Sri Lanka

Your Sri Lankan wilderness specialist


A Friendly Bundle of Joy

Stop for a chat with a bubbly Elephas Maximus


This is so exciting! You’re the first human I’ve ever met! I’m Lucy Flufficus Pachydermous. Life has been exciting every single day since I was born. Can you believe that I was able to stand on my own, just one hour after I was born? My mum, grandma and all my aunts say that I’ll be an overachiever, whatever that means. Did you know that all the older elephants you see around me are girls? My grandma says that’s because all the older boys are just too rough and boisterous to be around us, so they’ve been sent away. Hang on, my mum has dropped off my breakfast, so let me munch on that. She does that because I’m only a couple of months old and I am not allowed to wander off to forage for myself.


Fun Facts

Well, also, I don’t quite know how to use my trunk for foraging, yet. I’m quite embarrassed, but grandma says that I’ll figure it out very soon. She’s so nice! All I do with it now is just wave my trunk about, which is a lot of fun. I sometimes suck on it and then I get scolded for doing that. But I’m going to get better! I’ve been watching some of the older kids ripping up grass and pulling off leaves with their trunks and I think I’ve got it figured out! Mum and the others do so much more with their trunks… I wish I could rip out some branches and use them as fly swatters like they do. These pesky flies and bugs that bother us are soooo annoying! You hear that trumpeting? Mum’s calling me, I have to go. Looks like the herd is on the move to another exciting place. Bye!


Story of the photo

Whilst staying with us at the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Wilpattu, photographer Dilum Madushanka shared a few amazing pictures of animals he had captured through the years. This picture of a curious baby elephant was taken in Wilpattu a couple of years ago, during an eventful safari.


A Harbinger of the Apocalypse

Doom, I say! Doom is coming for all you Lesser Adjutant Storks!


You are all so proud and vain. Just because you happen to have beautiful red faces, yellow necks and irresistibly bald heads, you don’t pause to think what’s going on around you! Hah! Before you know it, you, yes you with the extra-shiny bald head, you will be the last of your kind. Why? Because the Wetlands are shrinking, the humans are taking more land for their precious rice and global warming is making everything topsy-turvy, that’s why! How does this affect you? Heavens above! With genius storks like you around, no wonder the Lesser Adjutant population has shrunk with every passing year.


Fun Facts

Listen to me and we will flourish! Stop settling for any tree and choose only the tallest of trees for your nests. Don’t clatter your bills and hiss and moan when you sit in your nests like you do now; that tells predators where you are. Be picky and eat only the healthiest frogs, crabs, fish, lizards, small mammals and snakes that you find. Be more vigilant when you form your breeding colonies. You need at least 20 pairs to be safe! I know that we are cursed with beauty, but that alone won’t save us. You need to do more to survive and flourish. Heed my words and live well my brothers and sisters!


Story of the photo

Often spotted stalking the outskirts of the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Yala, this preacher of the ‘End of Days’ was caught on camera by photographer Dilum Madushanka, just inside the Park by the edge of a lake.


If it Flies, Eat it!

Be inspired to eat anything, with the fearless foodie of the bird world


Fearless and handsome! Always hungry! Capable of striking like a bolt of lightning! It’s a bird, it’s a pla… umm well, it’s a bird... But wait, it’s not just any bird… it’s the Chestnut-headed bee-eater! Bees, wasps, hornets… to you, they’re venomous little bolts of terror. But to this bird, they’re merely mobile morsels of magnificence! In between a hunt, this handsome bird, gorgeously covered in bright chestnut feathers from the top of its head down to its neck, will even sit and pose for you. But be warned - behind that quizzical look is a careful evaluation of whether you are its next meal or not!


Fun Facts

A true foodie never rests in the quest for greater gastronomic delights! Till now the Chestnut-headed bee-eater had claimed the mountains and the plains as its territory. But now, it seems like the winged-terror has arrived in a new arena! After being spotted doing splashdowns in ponds and lakes, it appears that this little hunter has found a taste for aquatic insects and… little fish! But then, who can blame the little guy? Once you get a taste for fresh Sashimi, you can never go back to your usual diet can you?


Story of the photo

A common visitor to all the Mahoora Tented Safari Campsites, bee-eaters are regularly encountered perched on the tent ropes and bushes close to the tents. This camera friendly duo spent a few minutes posing for photographer Dilum Madushanka, when he was on safari at Wilpattu National Park.


The bear that inspired Bobby Darin’s “Splish Splash”

Chill out in a pool with the coolest Sloth Bear in Yala National Park



Splish splash, I was taking a bath
After eating loads of termites, yeah
A rub-a-dub, just relaxing in the puddle
Thinking ‘bout fruity delights

Well, I stepped out the puddle,
Shook my long shaggy coat
Cleaned out my claws
And I put them on the floor,
And then a-splish splash, I jumped back in the bath
Living in the dry zone makes a bear just wanna cool down
It’s a party in the jungle, in any of the big Parks
Yala and Wilpattu, Wasgamuwa and Kumana, yeah

Just then, I saw the whole gang
My kids were dancing out of the scrub, yeah
Flip flop, they were tumblin’ tots
My baby bears should be safe and tucked
There was Malli bear and Chuti Doo
Good Golly, Sukumalee mama bear where are you?
A-well-a, splish splash, I gave up on the bath
I jumped out fast and put my foot down, yeah
I was a-yelling and a-scolding, moved them to a safe place
Wishing that I still was, splishing and a-splashing, yeah


Story of the photo

Photographer Dilum Madushanka got this joyous shot of a Sri Lankan Sloth Bear splashing about and having the time of his life inside Yala National Park. Although shy by nature, the occasional sighting has been reported outside the borders of the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Yala, as the Sloth Bears go about in search of their favourite Palu fruit.



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Our Photographer :
Dilum Madushanka (@safari_sailor) a Marine engineer by profession. Following his motto : Six months in the Sea and Six months in the Jungle, a great nature enthusiast with an uncanny ability to capture the best moments of the wild.His passion is to bring awareness to everyone about the fascinating great outdoors through his photos and videos.