Due to extensive habitat loss caused by the island’s expanding towns and cities, the elephant population has declined by more than half over the last three generations. Even so, you can still expect to see them in large numbers across many of Sri Lanka’s national parks, and occasionally grazing on the roadside in rural communities.
Udawalawe National Park attracts large herds to its lakes. For closer interaction, you should consider a visit to the park’s wonderful Transit Centre, where orphaned elephants are looked after until they are strong enough to be released back into the wild. Anyone travelling near Minneriya, Kaudulla and Hurulu Eco Parks from August may be lucky enough to encounter the world-famous ‘Gathering’ where herds of up to 300 congregate.