Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment

Swift & Bold


It is believed that quadrupeds are closely associated with humans in their activities. Animals were trained by humans from the stone-age to assist man. Subsequently, battalions were raised with trained animals to fight with enemies. As man developed and made war with his foes, he trained animals to assist him and at the same time reared them as pets and companions. Our ancient kings had used elephants and horses along with the infantry men in their armies, where the animals had played an important role.

The first Commanding Officer of the first Rifle Battalion in Sri Lanka, the Ceylon Sinha Regiment, had a great desire to adopt a pet (Mascot) in the Regiment and acquired a goat of the Saanan variety from the government farm at Kundasale.

Tojo with her trainer Corporal Wilbert


Tojo at a Battalion Ceremony                           Tojo on Parade

The animal was named 'Tojo', was trained to participate in parades under the guidance of Regimental Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer I TFB Morseth. Tojo's trainer was Corporal Wilbert. 'Tojo' first participated at the Independence Parade in 1961 held in Kandy and was applauded by thousands of people as it marched with Sinha soldiers. This was the first time a mascot had marched on parade in Sri Lanka. In the years to come 'Tojo' participated at the Independence Parades at held at Kandy, Anuradhapura, Galle, Badulla and Kurunegala.

In 1977, the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel DW Hapuarachchi and Major J Nammuni in consultation with the authorities of the Dehiwala Zoo made arrangements to obtain a lion cub for adoption as the regimental mascot. The lion cub was brought to Colombo for training and on completion of each training session was returned to the Dehiwala Zoo. The Lion was looked after by a care-taker of the zoo. All requirements for its maintenance was provided by the Regiment. This Lion Mascot was seen by the public for the first time when it took part at the 'Army Search Light Tattoo' held in Colombo from the 18th to 22nd January 1978. Later, on 4th February 1978, it took-part in the Independence Day Parade where the first Executive President of Sri Lanka was the chief guest.

Cougar I at an Army Tattoo

At the time Major General LDCE Waidyaratna was the Chief of Army Staff, he had been gifted with a six month old lion cub from India. The cub was handed over to Major HR Stephen, on 11th June 1988 the Commanding Officer of the 6th Battalion, Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment deployed in Hambantota at that time.

Cougar I at the Regimental Headquarters in Ambepussa

The Chief of Staff of the Army Major General LDCE Waidyaratna
handing over Cougar II to Major HR Stephen

Since it was found difficult to care for the cub in an area like Hambantota, Major HR Stephen handed the animal over to Colonel DK Podimahaththaya, the Centre Commandant of the Regimental Centre Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment, Ambepussa. The cub was named 'Cougar'. After seven and a half years of service Cougar passed away on 9th October 1996.

Cougar's Successor carrying the same name joined the Regiment as Mascot, on 17th October 1996 and had a peaceful death on 11th February 2015.

Cougar II at the Regimental Headquarters in Ambepussa

The ‘Cougar's’ Successor carrying the same name joined the Regiment as Mascot, on 06 April 2017 after the peaceful death of ‘Cougar II’ on 11 February 2015. At present Lioness called ‘Elsa’ joined with ‘Cougar III’ on 22 January 2018.