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Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage Excursion, Sri Lanka

Region: hill-country | Location: Kegalle
Sri Lanka Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage
 Other regions: ancient-cities | capital-colombo | east-coast | south-coast | west-coast
Before the arrival of the British in 1815 an estimated 30,000 elephants lived on the island. In the 1960s, the elephant population was close to extinction. Today, their number is around 3,000. This prompted the Sri Lankan government to create an orphanage for elephants that had lost their mothers or herds. Pinnawela elephant orphanage has existed since 1975 and has grown to become one of the most popular attractions of Sri Lanka.

At this orphanage you will find elephants of all ages which are abandoned or otherwise unable to fend for themselves due to being injured. They are looked after until such time as they are ready to work or be freed back to the jungle. Pinnawela elephant orphanage is regarded as the biggest herd of captive elephants in the world. Among the elephants is one that lost a foot when it stepped on a mine. Another is blind and is totally reliant on humans.

The unique feature is that one can feed the baby elephants with bottles of milk and watch whilst the elephants are bathed twice daily in a river located across the orphanage.

Conservation

The sanctuary grounds cover 24 acres of lush forest. For the large elephants in the orphanage is also a breeding place, twenty elephants were born since 1984. It currently is home to approximately 84 elephants.

Some 110 people are employed to care for the herd feeding them with leaves from palm trees. About 14,000 kg of food are needed every day. The Pinnawela elephant orphanage is financed by the government and by charging visitors to see the animals.

Location

Pinnawela elephant orphanage is situated about 80 Km northwest of Colombo, near the town Kegalla, halfway between the present capital Colombo and the ancient royal residence Kandy in the hills of central Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife department and was primarily designed to afford care and protection to baby elephants found in the jungle without their mothers.

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