The Elephant is an important part of the Sri Lankan culture.
There are an estimated 4000 wild elephants living on this island. Most of the big herds live in the national parks and can be visited in organised safaris. The herds are living in a matriarchy and as a rule, males are not tolerated in the herd and therefore roam the countryside by themselves. Occasionally, if you are lucky while travelling through the country, you may spot a male in the distance which is appreciated by the locals and tourists alike.
But they do need to eat, of course and that's where the problems start.
At night, one of the big males may decide to go for an easy meal and visit the nearest plantations to steal bananas, tomatoes, rice and other vegetables. Needless to say, the natives aren't too pleased if a giant turns up and eats hundreds of kilos of their planted goods. Life is hard enough as it is and a huge animal with a monster appetite is not exactly welcome. So what to do?
Well, you set up guards, of course.
Next to every plantation is a small 'tree-house' for lack of a better term. Mostly it's just a rudimentary construction to give a person a shelter and a vantage point. When night comes the designated guard, armed with some food and maybe a little booze but most importantly a bag of fireworks, climbs the tree and waits. Most of the time nothing happens. But every now and then one of the giants just happens to pass by, looking for a bite to eat. That's when the guard jumps into action. They all have different ideas on how to chase the intruder away without getting attacked.(A hungry elephant usually has an attitude problem)
Some start with small firecrackers to let the raider know this place is guarded. Others throw firework the size of small bombs, trying to scare the elephant away.
Occasionally a guard has too much Arrack (the local whiskey) and falls asleep, allowing the elephant to eat in peace.