The story of Sri Lankan elephants

Author John Gimlette – Sri Lanka is home to 7,500 elephants. Author John Gimlette (ELEPHANT COMPLEX) looks at what makes this species unique, and how they reflect the character and history of Sri Lanka.

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ELEPHANT COMPLEX by John Gimlette

Travels in Sri Lanka

“Brilliant.” —The Daily Telegraph

No one sees the world quite like John Gimlette. In Elephant Complex, he ventures into Sri Lanka, a country only now emerging from twenty-six years of civil war.

Beginning in the exuberant capital, Colombo, Gimlette ventures out in all directions: to the dry zones where the island’s 5,800 wild elephants congregate around ancient reservoirs; through cinnamon country with its Portuguese forts; to the “Bible Belt” of Buddhism; then up into Kandy, the country’s eccentric, aristocratic Shangri-la. In the course of his journey, Gimlette meets farmers, war heroes, cricketers, terrorists, a former president, survivors of great massacres—and perhaps some of their perpetrators. That’s to say nothing of the island’s beguiling fauna: elephants, crocodiles, snakes, storks, and the greatest concentration of leopards on Earth.

Here is a land of beauty and devastation, a place at once heavenly and hellish—all brought to vibrant, fascinating life here on the page.

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