Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Responsible elephant photo safaris

Explaining the "Do"s and "Don't"s of elephant viewing
Explaining the "Do"s and "Don't"s of elephant viewing

Photographic safaris are usually considered one of the most low-impact forms of wildlife tourism, but when large numbers of tourists and animals converge on small areas there are many potential problems that have to be considered.

During the dry season in August – September each year wild elephants gather in hundreds in Minneriya and Kaudualla national parks for food, water and social interactions. Local and foreign tourists too gather in thousands during the season to witness this natural spectacle often referred to as ‘The Gathering’.

Together with Jetwing, one of the leading hotel and touring groups in Sri Lanka, and the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC), Born Free took part in a one-day programme at Mineriya National Park in October 2010. The workshop was attended by safari jeep drivers and wildlife guides, who described in detail the factors involved in elephant disturbance during safari tourist trips in Minneriya and Kaudulla.

The workshop revealed that the tourists can play the most important role in minimizing the disturbance of elephants during safari trips, by understanding how their presence affects the movements and behaviour of the animals. Further plans were proposed with the DWC and the tourist hotels around the area to educate tourists on responsible elephant tourism in national parks. 

The event also received a significant amount of local press attention. Some examples of English language articles can be found here:

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