This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
HOTEL IN THE JUNGLE — It’s time to address the elephant in the room. Namely, the Asian elephant that is seen in a recent video ambling through a luxury hotel. The massive animal appears to calmly stroll down a hallway, occasionally prodding objects with his trunk.
"Woke up to a text from my mom about how a wild elephant went into a Sri Lankan hotel and gently wandered around while poking stuff with his trunk," wrote the Twitter user who originally shared the video footage.
"I would pay extra to stay in the Elephant hotel," added another Twitter user. "Ok, recognizing that this isn't the best for the elephant, but still...wow."
woke up to a text from my mom about how a wild elephant went into a Sri Lankan hotel and gently wandered around while poking stuff with his trunk pic.twitter.com/C2biQT8C30— Upuli 🇱🇰 (@upidaisy) January 19, 2020
According to a report from the BBC, the incident occurred at the Jetwing Yala hotel, which is near the Yala National Park in Sri Lanka. The elephant in question is known as Natta Kota (which means "short tail") and has been a guest at the hotel since 2013.
"In the initial years, Natta Kota was a seasonal visitor, appearing for a few months of the year before disappearing once more into the bush," a hotel spokesperson explained to the BBC. "During this period, he paid frequent visits to other resorts along the beach stretch as well. A few years ago, he took up permanent residence at Jetwing where he is allowed to be at peace."
While it would certainly make things more entertaining if every hotel had an elephant, it’s worth noting that Natta Kota has a bit of a rascally reputation. The hotel staff told the BBC that he likes to sneak food from the kitchen. And he’s been known to grab fruit from cars in the parking lot.
In order to maintain the peace, the hotel warns everyone to safeguard their fruits and vegetables. And they’ve installed a fence that keeps the hungry elephant from barging into the kitchen.
"Please note that though he is a regular visitor to our hotels, Natta Kota is still very much a wild elephant and we at Jetwing would have him remain as such," said the hotel in a statement. "While it is exciting and memorable to encounter wild animals in and around our hotels, we humbly request that guests respect their space and maintain a healthy distance at all times."