"Pinnewala elephant orphanage" Sri Lanka Things to Do Tip by josephescu
Sri Lanka Things to Do: 539 reviews and 890 photos
Hidden in the hills of central Sri Lanka, the government-run elephant orphanage was established in 1975 in a coconut property near the Maha Oya river. The orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to the many orphaned elephants found in the jungle. As of 2003, there were 65 elephants, reported to be the largest herd of captive elephants in the world.
A breeding in captivity program has been launched in 1982. Since this time over twenty elephants have been born. While most of the elephants are healthy, one is blind and one, named Sama, has lost her front left leg due to a landmine.
The aim of the orphanage is to simulate the natural world. Animals are allowed to roam freely during the day and a herd structure allowed to form. However, there are some exceptions: the elephants are taken to the river twice daily for a bath, and all the babies under three years of age are still bottle fed by the mahouts and volunteers. Each animal is also given around 76kg of green matter a day and around 2kg from a food bag containing rice bran and maize. They get access to water twice a day, from the river.
The orphanage is very popular and visited daily by many Sri Lankan and foreign tourists. The main attraction is clearly to observe the bathing elephants from the tall river bank as it allows visitors to observe the herd interacting socially, bathing and playing.
Can be organised as a day trip from either Kandy or Colombo, but mak sure to have an early start
Directions: Half way between Colombo and Kandy, near the town of Kegalle. Just take any bus on this route, jump off in Kegalle at the crossroad and wait 20 minutes for a bus to Rambukkkana. Taxis or rickshaws are a rip-off.
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