Lion is considered the national beast as there are no more lions living in the wild for decades the honour should go to Elephants in Sri Lanka.
During the start of the 20th century there were more than 12,000 elephants living in the wild and now the number is dropped to 3500. Due to the extensive use of agricultural use of the pristine forests the numbers of Elephants have dropped to this level today. There are road networks built by humans through the elephant’s centuries old routes.
Like everywhere on earth where elephants exist, the Sri Lankan elephants are hunted down by ruthless poachers for their ivory tusks. There was also countless number of elephants found killed and injured during the civil war.
There is an elephant orphanage in Pinnawela near Kandy for orphaned young animals that would not manage to join other herds without their mother and would rather wander about helplessly.
Elephants still play an important role in forestry where they are used as work animals. They also fulfil an important role during festive ceremonies such as the Kandy Perehera, where hundreds of them participate in the annual celebrations at the Temple of the tooth, acting as colourfully decorated relic bearers. Elephants are led by an elephant driver; the animals will only obey this person and can remember upto 100 command words.
These gentle giants can sometimes become volatile during the mating season and also they have a very good memory. Once a calf is born they spend 3 years with their mother during which period the mother does not do anything else other than caring for the offspring.
Elephants can live around for 100 years and on average reach 80; and their best years are between 25 and 60. During which they can work up to 8 hours a day, but only during cooler months.