Tuskers and Timber Elephants

Asian Elephant hauling timber in Sri Lankan forest

Great civilisations to flourished here, in Sri Lanka, over a thousand years ago. But it might never have happened - without the help of elephants. Their feet pounded the foundations of the cities. Their strength hauled millions of tons of stone for the dams and temples. They harvested timber from the forests.

Adult male Asian Elephant in breeding condition

In Sri Lanka only a very few male elephants carry tusks - and they're usually larger than other males. The bright red patches near his eyes show he's in musth, the male breeding condition, when his testosterone level soars to sixty times normal.

Family herd of Asian Elephants

Some of these youngsters may be his offspring from earlier visits. Now, the large groups of elephants which come here (Uda Walawe National Park) to feed include females who are ready to breed. He's probably mated already, and now he's keeping other males at bay by guarding the herd. But soon he'll leave them, perhaps for many months.

Males take no part in rearing their offspring - their youngsters are raised in the stable matriarchal society of the herd, learning from their mothers, aunties and older sisters.

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