Lakshmi, meaning ‘Goddess of Prosperity’, is the matriarch of our herd and also the film star here at MEF. She has starred in over 25 international films and documentaries, including Tarzan the Ape Man! Her other claim to fame is that she gave birth to Pooja, the first elephant to be born in captivity in Sri Lanka.
Lakshmi was born in 1966. She was taken into captivity at the age of five by the late Mr Samarasinge (husband of the founder of MEF, Carminie Samarasinge). When Lakshmi was 18 she was mated with a wild elephant called Kandula who came from the dry zone in Sri Lanka. The pairing was successful, and on the 5th August 1986, Lakshmi gave birth to Pooja, whose name means ‘Gift to the Gods.’
Lakshmi is a strong elephant and is the liveliest adult at MEF. Her maternal instinct often means she collects food for the other elephants, with Pooja even feeding directly from her mouth on occasion! Lakshmi is very affectionate toward Pooja and is often spotted next to her in the river caressing her with her trunk. Lakshmi is 7 feet 11 inches tall and weighs around 3820kg.
Lakshmi is a real diva, lovely but tough. She absolutely adored her head mahout Jiya, but he sadly passed away this past year. She has now been working with Kalu (who was the second mahout before), and they are still building their bond. Despite his best efforts, Lakshmi lets him know who the boss is and still tries to stretch her limits. She is very protective over daughter Pooja, getting to spend more time with her now that the free roaming area has been constructed. Lakshmi suffers from the green eyed monster and can get very jealous if she thinks other elephants are getting preferential treatment. She has been known to sometimes stand still when in a tantrum. Lakshmi is very protective of her space in her day bed and does not like it if visitors get too near.
If you would like to adopt Lakshmi for one year or two, please visit our adoption page
A Volunteer's Account
My time working with MEF matriarch Lakshmi was incredible. She’s a bit cheeky, but beautiful to work with and the bond she has with her mahout, Jaya is really something special to witness.
Leah Monk, Australia, February 2015