Sri Lankan Elephant

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The Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus), originally from India, is the nominate subspecies of the Asian Elephant and is the largest of the subspecies although smaller than the two species of African elephants.

The elephant population in the National Parks of Sri Lanka is somewhat diminutive in stature when compared both with historical accounts dating back to 200 BC and with the early photographs taken in 19th century during the time of colonial British rule of the island. The smaller size could possibly be the end result of a long-continued process of removing the physically best specimens from the potential breeding-stock through hunting or domestication (see insular dwarfism). Since Sri Lanka was at one time a part of peninsular India (there is evidence that there existed a land bridge between the northern part of the island and the subcontinent many thousand years ago), it is highly likely that the Asian Elephant, roaming South India at the time, "conquered" Sri Lanka literally on foot.

The Sri Lankan Elephant population is now largely restricted to a few National Parks and Nature Reserves. Udawalawe National Park, Yala National Park, Wilpattu National Park and Minneriya National Park are prime locations for spotting elephants


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