Tuesday, June 9, 2015


1 comment:

  1. On 5/31/15 12:29 PM, "Peter H Armitage" wrote:

    Dear Anu,
    Read with interest the articles in the Bulletin.
    The story of the elephant escape brought back fond memories of the many visits I did to the Dehiwala Zoo as a boy with my father.
    Dr Aubry Weiman was the Director at the time. I had no knowledge of the “Great Escape” as it probably happened when I was much
    too young to understand or remember. I do however remember the matriarch Letchumi and the rides I did on her back sitting in a
    seat made of rattan and capable of carrying about six people. We also attended the Sunday evening elephant show in which Letchumi
    used to ever so gently place a fore foot on the chest of her keeper who lay on the ground in front of her. In the final act for the evening
    her keeper stood under her chin while she raised her trunk and on an instruction from him she picked him up in her lips by his head
    while he faced outward and gently did a 360 degree turn so that all those sitting around the arena had a good view. Her keeper was
    dangling out of her mouth.
    Other elephants did other fetes like sitting on stools, standing with all four feet together on stools that were just large enough for their feet,
    standing on their heads, and the littlest elephants would spin around on the spot bringing peals of laughter from the crowd.
    When the show was over, a mouthorgan (harmonica) was placed in Letchumi’s trunk and she would lead the performers out of the
    arena blowing on the harmonica which she held over her head. My younger brother and I sat there in awe for a while before racing off
    to the elephant stalls to watch them getting stuck into their dinner. I clearly remember how the big elephants used to kick open the trunks
    of the kitul trees that were in their bundles and tear them into mouth sized pieces.

    Best regards,