The only elephant orphanage in the world
Start their morning walk
The only elephant orphanage in the world
Enjoying bath
The only elephant orphanage in the world
The Leader, a little one and the royal walk
The only elephant orphanage in the world
Have you ever witness this type of a activity ?

Pinnawela elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is the only country providing a safe retreat for young orphaned elephants. Pinnawela elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka is one of the two such sanctuaries in Sri-Lanka tending and caring for the domestic baby elephants and this has now become quite well known worldwide.

Pinnawela elephant Orphanage is the home for about 60 elephants, out of which many are baby elephants found, abandoned or orphaned in the wild. They are being taken care, fed and trained by the wild life authorities. The best time to visit is during the feeding times, when one will have the opportunity of seeing the baby elephants being bottle-fed.

Pinnawela elephant orphanage is located northwest of the town Kegalla, 77 Kms from capital Colombo and about 13 Km. from Kegalle Town on the Kegalle- Rambukkana Road.. It was started in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife department. These 24 acres large elephant orphanage is also a breeding place for elephants, 68 elephants were born since 1984, and it has the greatest herd of elephants in captivity in the world.

The orphanage was primarily designed to afford care and protection to the many baby elephants found in the jungle without their mothers. In most of these cases the mother had been either killed or dead. In some instances the baby had fallen into a pit and in others the mother had fallen in and died.

The origin of elephant orphanage in Sri lanka

Initially this orphanage was at the Wilpattu National Park, then shifted to the tourist complex at Bentota and then to the Dehiwala Zoo.

From the Dehiwala Zoo it was shifted in 1975 to Pinnawela. At the time it was shifted the orphanage had only five baby elephants, which formed its nucleus.

It was hoped that this centre would attract both local and foreign visitors, the income from which would help to maintain the orphanage.

In 1978 the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka was taken over by the National Zoological Gardens from the Department of Wildlife and a captive breeding program was launched in 1982. When the zoo took over there were twelve animals five of whom who were babies. In time more baby elephants were added to the original herd of five. It was observed that though older females could be added it was not possible to add older males to the herd.

1997 there were 52 animals of which 10 were babies under 3 years of age. There were five mahouts for the twelve elephants when the orphanage was taken over in 1978 and now there are twenty mahouts. This number is hardly enough to manage the increasing and growing number of elephants.

At Pinnawela an attempt was made to install, in a limited way, the conditions in the wild. Animals are allowed to roam freely during the day and a herd structure was allowed to form.

At 08.00am the babies are fed on milk and allowed to roam freely on the 12 acres large grassland.

At 10.00am each morning and at 2pm in the afternoon the animals are walked 400 meters to the river Maha Oya for a two-hour bath. Here is a fine opportunity for you to accompany the elephants to the river close-by and watch them having their daily bath.

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