Driving through Yala National Park, a clearing brings you to a muddy billabong. As your eyes come into focus, you realize with surprise that you’re not alone….
An army of wild buffalo are escaping the heat of the day by having a cooling mud bath. These are not the guys who make the ubiquitous curd, but wild beasts that can change mood at a moments notice.
One turns to look at the car. A shiver runs down your spine. Luckily, the heat makes him too lazy to give chase, but he stares through you with a warning.
The wild water buffalo is listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List since 1986, as the remaining population totals less than 4,000, with an estimate of fewer than 2,500 mature individuals. The population decline of at least 50% over the last three generations (24–30 years) is projected to continue.
These ancient creatures weigh between 700 – 1200kg and have horns as large as 2 metres. Their cousins in Africa are one of the famous Big Five.
You can find wild buffalo at Yala and Uda Walawe National Parks, each approx 2 hours drive from Talalla Retreat.
Image courtesy of D.Jones Photography and may not be reproduced without permission.