Friday, June 20, 2008

Sri Lanka releases eight orphaned elephants back into wild

By P. Karunakharan,
June 14th, 2008

Udawalawe (Sri Lanka), June 14 (IANS) As hundreds watched in silent admiration, Sri Lankan mahouts shed tears as eight orphaned baby elephants they had raised for four years were Friday released into the wild. There was no hiding the love the mahouts had developed for the young elephants over the years as the eight animals were given a final dung bath to prepare for a new life in the Sri Lankan forests.

The dung bath was given to get rid of the human smell, which would keep other herds away from the baby elephants.

As hundreds of journalists, government officials and tourists watched, the six male and two female elephants - Asha, Marga, Atlas, Nalaka, Baby Blue, Tharos, Minoli and Senani - took their time to make their way out of the Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home, located some 200 km southeast of Colombo.

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