Sri Lankan Leopard (panthera pardus kotiya)
These animals were all photographed during two jeep safaris in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka. The close-up shots were taken when we spotted a leopard in deep undergrowth, very close to the track we were driving down. The tree shots needed a long lens (400mm prime) and, though the early morning light was rather subdued by overhanging branches, I enjoyed studying the animals at rest. I was extremely lucky to get the walking shots because the leopard was pacing through thick, shrubby undergrowth when we spotted it. Our guide told me that there was a good chance the animal would cross a small clearing if it continued in its current direction. It did - and the clearing was just about as wide as the leopard was long!
Wild Water Buffalo (bubalus arnee)
We saw these animals wherever we saw water during our jeep safaris. Sometimes they were wallowing in sizeable water holes but, just as often, we would come upon a lone animal in little more than a deep puddle. When in a group, they seemed to delight in smothering themselves in mud, presumably to gain some protection from flies and/or the hot sun.
Sri Lankan Elephant (elephas maximus maximus)
Most of these elephant images were taken in Yala National Park but I have included a few shots of elephants in the river, from our visit to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. The Yala elephants are, of course, wild animals but those at Pinnawala are captive and, though they enjoy two lengthy visits to the river each day, there has been some controversy about how they are kept at this facility and the policy of occasionally releasing animals into private hands. A difficult one because the facility was built to house elephants orphaned by poaching and/or victims of the civil war.
Here are a few other mammals, most were photographed in Yala National Park but the Indian palm squirrel and the grooming toque macaques were photographed in Anuradhapura.