As regular readers will know, I have a jumbo passion for elephants. A few years ago I volunteered at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand and ever since I’ve campaigned to stop people riding elephants because of the cruel conditions these gentle giants are kept in.
So when I was asked to take part in a charity trek through Sri Lanka I jumped at the chance, not only for the opportunity to challenge myself and raise thousands of pounds for Marie Curie, but also because Sri Lanka is home to two-three thousand wild elephants.
Poaching isn’t a big threat to elephants in Sri Lanka because very few Asian Elephants have tusks – none of the females have them and only some of the males – however they do face conflict from villagers whose homes have been built on traditional elephant migratory routes. In some parts of the country electric fences have been put in place to prevent elephants wandering into areas where people live, the theory is if the elephants are separated from humans in this way they’ll be able to live in peace. Unfortunately this isn’t a perfect solution, but it is having a level of success and Sri Lankan conservationists told me they welcome the rising number of elephants in the country.
The real key is education, not just for locals but tourists too, which is why elephant safaris are becoming increasingly popular, so while I was there I jumped onboard a jeep to see some amazing animals in their natural habitat.