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Particularly complicated when the murder elephant shows up

Bushwalks at Ahaspokuna can be challenging, with varying terrain, steep drops, long trekking trails formed by elephants, manoeuvring through thick bush forest, and facing unpredictable weather. That, and with the complication of crossing paths with wild elephants freely roaming through the bush much like yourself, with the most notable difference being that they’ve got 4000 – 12000 pounds on you! Elephants in Sri Lanka are the largest of the Asian Elephants, and while most choose the life of being a gentle giant, others might have some personality and anger management issues. When the latter shows up, bushwalks can get particularly complicated.

Fondly dubbed ‘murder elephant’, this rather notorious giant met us on a bushwalk and decided to test our escapism skills. Good news is that we passed (the test, not away) and lived to write this blog post. It all began unlike every Hollywood movie; I was telling my botanically keen clients about the types of flora found in the bush, which probably would have been cut out of the movie as plants aren’t really action-packed. Suddenly – and even this might have not made the Hollywood cut as real life rarely resembles the movies – the murder elephant slowly ambles out of the bush.

For reasons that are quite comical to us, and maybe even to him, he promptly got annoyed at the very sight of us talking about flora. We clambered up the hill behind us as he trudged towards us with his ears forward, hissed, and gently kicked at a nearby tree. It was all very dramatic in the grand scheme of things, considering this was the murder elephant and not a regular elephant that wasn’t that fond of murder. This routine (read: tantrum) lasted for approximately an hour, during which time I calmly thought of flora in other safari camps. Surely only murder was part of his repertoire and not mind reading.

The hour which passed robbed us of daylight which would have otherwise been used to point out more delightful flora (and other fauna) while trekking. Succeeding in not being killed, but failing in following through with the path which leads down to the waterfall, we turned back and took a less interesting route with less interesting plant life. Another scene which definitely wouldn’t make it to the final cut in any blockbuster.

As told by Arun Bandara, Naturalist

Narrated by Talia F.

Ahaspokuna Stories

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A H A S - P O K U N A

In the Sinhalese language (spoken in Sri Lanka), “Ahas” means “Sky” and “Pokuna” means “Pond” or “Pool”. Ahaspokuna is so named in reference to the lake here, high up in the hills, that is only fed by rain water. A former settlement that sprung up on its shores was subsequently also named “Ahaspokuna”. Today, the jungle tide has washed over where people once lived and the camp provides a wilderness retreat for those in search of something different.
Ahaspokuna by Eco Team

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