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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2731

Sri Lankan Cultural and Education Program with baby elephant ‘Kandula’s Fifth birthday celebration in Washington

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent for Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 13 November (Asiantribune.com): A cultural and educational program about Sri Lanka is being held at the National Zoo in Washington on 16 and 19 November jointly sponsored by the Sri Lanka embassy, Smithsonian National Zoological Park and Friends of National Zoo.

The highlight of the program is the celebration of the fifth birthday of the Sri Lankan baby elephant ‘Kandula.’

This is quite a coincident: Sri Lanka’s baby elephant ‘Kandula’ emerges when the elephant lost its way in both the Senate and the House in last Tuesday’s U.S. national elections, and in previous week, the Sri Lanka elephant realized the importance of being the ‘King’s acolytes’ (rajapaksa).

Anyway, here is the story about Sri Lanka’s cultural and educational program in Washington and the birthday celebration of ‘Kandula.’

The Embassy of Sri Lanka in partnership with the Smithsonian National Zoological Park and Friends of the National Zoo (FONZ) in Washington D.C., will present a cultural and educational program, and other festivities to celebrate the fifth birthday of the Sri Lankan baby elephant ‘Kandula’ on Thursday November 16th and Sunday November 19th, 2006 at the National Zoo in Washington D.C.

The planned celebrations seek to provide insights into the social, cultural, religious, aesthetic and literary significance of the Asian elephant in South Asian societies. The events and exhibits, including the opportunity for Sri Lankan tea tasting, will be interesting for children and adults alike. Some of the exciting highlights include, traditional Sri Lankan dance performances mimicking the moods and movements of the elephant and the snake, presentation of wooden elephant key chains to the first 500 children, presentation of a special costume to 'Kandula' by the Embassy of Sri Lanka, and traditional Sri Lankan food for purchase.

As part of the National Zoo's celebration of Asian elephant Kandula's Fifth birthday, Zoo research collaborator Prithiviraj Fernando will share fascinating insights he has gained about Asian elephants and their conservation after studying these magnificent animals in the wild for nearly 10 years. Fernando is affiliated with the Centre for Conservation and Research in Sri Lanka, where he helps lead Asian elephant conservation efforts.

Dayananda Kariyawasam, Director General of Sri Lanka's Department of Wildlife Conservation, will open the program with remarks about the Sri Lankan Elephant Conservation Program.

The Zoo, FONZ, and the Embassy of Sri Lanka will celebrate the fifth birthday of Asian elephant calf Kandula with a special party at the Zoo's Elephant House on Sunday, Nov. 19, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Guests at this free event can enjoy interpretive talks by the Zoo's elephant keepers and performances by dancers demonstrating traditional Sri Lankan ceremonial dances. Visitors can also learn about Asian elephant conservation and watch videos about Kandula's first five years and the important role of elephants in Sri Lankan culture.

The Embassy of Sri Lanka will present a ceremonial blanket to Kandula, and the first 500 children will receive a wooden elephant key chain. Traditional Sri Lankan food will be available for purchase.

On Thursday, November 16, a lecture “The Conservation of Asian Elephants in Sri Lanka and Beyond” will be delivered at 7:30 immediately after a reception.

- Asian Tribune -

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