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Night Time Bull Behaviour Study: Sri Lanka Elephant & Leopard Conservation

A bull Elephant

At night the Bulls behaviour changes completely from in the day time. It's an exciting time for observing the elephants here in Sri Lanka. Hormones are raging and the bulls are starting to fight for the reproductively active females. Bulls are observed forming alliances and coalitions against dominant bulls.

Date: November 25, 2016

Time: 7 pm

It seems dominant bulls undergo a Jekyll and Hyde transformation in the darkness of the night. By 7 pm night has descended and with no moonlight the entire area was in total darkness. We were in the Land Rover which we had parked as close as we could get to the elephants. As we stayed quietly in the vehicle the grazing elephants gradually advanced and were all around us—some just touching distance. As darkness engulfed us we could barely discern the elephants. They disappeared from view and only their sounds were there to keep us company.

A coalition of young bull friends

Turning on the night vision we observed the elephants. The night vision observations gave an amazing insight into elephant behavior especially of the dominant bulls. We observed that the large dominant bulls had undergone a remarkable change in their behavior. The normally placid and sedate bulls became boisterous big bullies chasing cows and trying to separate the young calves from their mothers. Several times we faced a tensed situation as some of these cows came running towards the Land Rover with a towering massif of a bull chasing after them. In the darkness we were concerned whether the elephants would crash into our vehicle. Fortunately every time the elephants managed to evade the Land Rover and run past us without causing any mishaps.


Watch their behaviour in the videos below:



Find out more about our Sri Lanka Elephant And Leopard Conservation Project here