From Army soldier to Chief mahout

We are in Pinawala the Elephant orphanage some 80 km from Colombo to meet the Chief Mahout.

A mahout is an honourable job. The job selection is in fact done by the Elephants themselves. Candidates have to be among the Elephants for a while. Then after a week or so the Eldest Elephant of the herd shows some affection to one candidate in particular. That is monitored by the committee who has to appoint the new mahout.

We meet one of the mahouts who is too modest to mention his name. A translator explains that this man was an army soldier and fought in the war to liberate the country some 10 years ago. While he stands with us his eyes are with the herd down below. Noticing every move they make. I wonder myself how on earth could this man hold a gun? 

The big herd is gathering. It is an amazing scenery. The wide river with low water level is ideal for the herd to move slowly through the water. They know it is about time to get out of the river.

One of the Elephants gets restless and the mahout quickly walks down to the river bed to look after the mother and her young.

The Mahout grabs softly the trunk of the mother and whispers a few words. 

His unconditional love for the elephants is demonstrated in that "one golden moment”.

If a picture can tell a thousand words; This is the One!