Jan 30, 2013

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawala Elepehant Orphanage, Sri Lanka (Photos from our Sri Lanka Holidays)

Source – Wikipedia

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village, 13 km (8.1 mi) northwest of Kegalle town in Sabaragamuwa Province of Sri Lanka. Pinnawalla is notable for having the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. In 2011, there were 88 elephants, including 37 males and 51 females from 3 generations, living in Pinnawala.

The orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to many of the orphaned unwanted wild elephants found wandering in and near the forests of Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC).

The Millennium Elephant Foundation is a separate registered private charity organization which is a retirement home for 7 elephants and a tourist attraction.

The orphanage was established to feed, nurse and house young elephants found abandoned by their mothers. Young elephants sometimes fall into pits and ravines in their quest for water during drought period. Other orphans have been displaced from their wild habitat by development projects or have been found abandoned before weaning, diseased or wounded.

There are 48 mahouts (handlers) who take care of the elephants. The female and young elephants in Pinnawala range freely as a herd during the day in an area of a few acres. They are herded about .5 km (0.31 mi) twice a day to drink and be bathed in the river. At night, the females are individually chained in stalls. Adult males are do some light work such as transporting feed. They are chained and managed individually, Calves born in Pinnawala are not bottle fed, but a few from ETH are kept at Pinnawala and bottle fed as a tourist attraction.

The elephants are fed in their stalls. There is very little food they can gather from the premises of the orphanage except some grass. Large quantities of jackfruit, coconut, kitul (sugar palm), tamarind and grass, brought in daily, form the bulk of the elephants food.[6] Each adult animal is given around 76 kilograms (170 lb) of this green matter per day and around 2 kg (4.4 lb) from a food bag containing rice bran and maize.

08.30 hours         Open to visitors

09.15 hours         Bottle feeding

10.00 hours         Herd leaving to the river

12.00 hours         Return from the river

13.15 hours         Bottle feeding

14.00 hours         Herd leaving to the river

16.00 hours         Return from the river

17.00 hours         Bottle feeding

17.30 hours         Ticket counters close

18.00 hours         Close to public

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