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Vacation Photo Album
Eranda Nirmal Bandara Sooriyapperuma

Here are some pictures from a recent vacation I took.

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Here I'll describe this picture from my vacation, including information such as where and when it was taken, and what memories it brings back. I may also include include information on the current weather conditions at our vacation spot.

Elephents of Sri Lanka
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Elephents of Sri Lanka

HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION

This Sri Lankan subspecies is confined to the island of Sri Lanka (65,605 square kilometers, 25,332 square miles) off the southern coast of India. Although there is no accurate census available, it is estimated that about 2500-3000 elephants are still found in the wild, and a further 500 odd in captivity. (ref: IUCN) It occupies a variety of habitats from open grasslands to forested regions, including open savannas, wet areas of marshes and lake shores. At the turn of the century more than 10,000 elephants were found distributed all over the island. These numbers were rapidly depeleted, firstly due to big game hunting, and subsequently because of rapid development and deforestation, which in turn increased the conflict between man and elephant. The remaining few thousands are confined to the national parks, while pockets of small herds are strewn around in the north-eastern and eastern areas.

APPEARANCE

The Sri Lankan elephant is somewhat different to the African elephant where firstly it has much smaller ears. The profile of it's back, is convex (males) or straight and level (females), as the case may be,unlike that of the African elephant, which is concave. Thus Sri Lankan male elephants have well rounded backs which taper downwards steeply, while the females have straight flat box-shaped profiles.

Another less obvious difference between the African and the Asian (Sri Lankan) elephant is the tip of the trunk. The Asian species has two finger-like protrutions while the African has one. The long and flexible trunk can weigh up to 125 - 200 kilograms (275 - 440 pounds). Generally, the Asian elephant has more hair on its body than the African elephant, and it is especially conspicuous in the newborn and juveniles. The body colour could be anything from dark gray of different shades, to dark brown, depending on the colour of the soil and mud where the elephants have bathed and dusted.

Mature Sri Lankan elephants in particular display heavy pinkish pigmentation of the skin around the ears, face and trunk. The head of the male has large and pronounced bulges; those of the female are smaller.Only males sprout tusks rarely. (in some cases even longer and heavier than those of the African species)

SIZE

An average male adult Sri Lankan elephant may reach 3.5 meters (11 feet 6 inches) in shoulder height and weigh 5,500 kilograms (12,125 pounds). Females are much smaller.

REPRODUCTION

All elephant species have one of the longest gestation periods in the animal kingdom, of 18-20 months. One calf is usually born, weighing about 75 - 115 kilograms (165 - 225 pounds) and measure approximately 100 centimeters (3 feet 3 inches) at the shoulder. Elephants reach sexual maturity between the ages of 8 and 14 years, but this varies with the prevailing conditions of the habitat. For instance during severe periods of draught, puberty may be delayed even up to age of 14-15 years. A female elephant can give birth every 4 - 6 years, and has the potential of giving birth to about 6-7 offspring in her lifetime, which is about 55- 60 years.

DIET

The elephant has a very inefficient digestive system, where almost 45% of it's food intake is passed through as undigested matter. As a result the elephant spends most of it's life eating, and therefore has to seek out a continous and abundant supply of food and water. Their diet is strictly herbivorous. Most elephants consume 100 - 150 kilograms(220 - 330 pounds) of food and 80 - 160 liters (20 - 40 gallons) of water per day. The Asian elephant is adapted to be being a grazer rather than a browser. It's diet will include different types of grasses, as well as juicy leaves and fruits.

 

A family on vacation; Size=180 pixels wide

Here I'll describe another picture from my vacation.

Map of Sri Lanka
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Sri Lanka Geography

    Location: Southern Asia, island in the Indian Ocean, south of India

    Geographic coordinates: 7 00 N, 81 00 E

    Map references: Asia

    Area:
    total: 65,610 sq km
    land: 64,740 sq km
    water: 870 sq km

    Areacomparative: slightly larger than West Virginia

    Land boundaries: 0 km

    Coastline: 1,340 km

    Maritime claims:
    contiguous zone: 24 nm
    continental shelf: 200 nm or to the edge of the continental margin
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    territorial sea: 12 nm

    Climate: tropical monsoon; northeast monsoon (December to March); southwest monsoon (June to October)

    Terrain: mostly low, flat to rolling plain; mountains in south-central interior

    Elevation extremes:
    lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
    highest point: Pidurutalagala 2,524 m

    Natural resources: limestone, graphite, mineral sands, gems, phosphates, clay

    Land use:
    arable land: 14%
    permanent crops: 15%
    permanent pastures: 7%
    forests and woodland: 32%
    other: 32% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 5,500 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: occasional cyclones and tornadoes

    Environmentcurrent issues: deforestation; soil erosion; wildlife populations threatened by poaching; coastal degradation from mining activities and increased pollution; freshwater resources being polluted by industrial wastes and sewage runoff

    Environmentinternational agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Nuclear Test Ban, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
    signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

    Geographynote: strategic location near major Indian Ocean sea lanes