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Travel industry news

14 Aug 2019

BY James Chapple


The Sri Lanka hotel whose most loyal patron is an elephant

This is Natta Kota, a fully grown Asian bull elephant who checked into the Jetwing Yala hotel years ago and now calls its grounds home.


The Sri Lanka hotel whose most loyal patron is an elephant

Natta Kota, or short tail, recently made one of his regular forays into the hotel lobby, and became a bit of a viral sensation when footage was posted online.

Initially a seasonal visitor to the hotel near Yala national park on Sri Lanka’s south-east coast, Natta Kota would appear for a few months, visiting a number of other coastal resorts in the area, before disappearing back into the bush.

However, he took up permanent resident at Jetwing Yala a few years ago where he is allowed to be at peace, spending his days sleeping in the shade and taking walks along the hotel’s footpaths.

“Natta Kota’s calm demeanour has made him a delight to guests, and videos showing him helping himself to the hotel’s trees are aplenty,” said a Jetwing spokesperson.

“However, Natta Kota is still very much a wild elephant, and we at Jetwing would have him remain as such. While it is exciting and memorable to encounter Natta Kota, we humbly request guests respect his space and maintain a healthy distance at all times.”

Jetwing Yala and adjoining Jetwing Safari Camp are located in dune scrubland, home to a vast array of wildlife.

The hotel took the decision not to gate or fence the complex, meaning guests can often see deer, porcupine and smaller jungle cats roaming the grounds.

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