Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage and breeding ground for wild elephants which is situated northwest of the town of Kegalle, Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 by the Department of Wildlife Conservation on a 25-acre (10 ha) coconut plantation on 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 2008, there were 84 elephants.

The aim of the orphanage is to simulate the natural world. 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 76 kilograms (170 lb) of green manure a day and around 2 kg (4.4 lb) from a food bag containing rice bran and maize. They get access to water twice a day, from the river.

This elephant orphanage is also a breeding place for elephants. More than twenty-three elephants have been born since 1984, and the orphanage has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. While most of the elephants are healthy, one is blind, and one, named Sama, has lost her front right leg to a land mine.

History

Pinnewela was first established by the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation in 1975 on a 25-acre (10 ha) preserve for feeding and providing care and sanctuary to orphaned baby elephants that were found in the wild. In 1978, the orphanage was taken over by the Department of National Zoological Gardens, and in 1982 an elephant breeding program was launched.

Tourism

The orphanage is very popular among local and foreign tourists. The main attraction is the opportunity to observe the bathing elephants from the broad river bank as the herd interacts socially, bathing and playing.

The orphanage is open to the public daily, and all admission fees are used to look after the elephants. Visitors to the park can view many different aspects of the care and daily routine of the elephants, such as bottle feeding of elephant calves, feeding of all other elephants, and bathing.

Animal Welfare

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is also the subject of a report by the Born Free Foundation which calls into question the animal welfare at the orphange. You can find the report here [1]

Gallery


See also

  • Dehiwala Zoo
  • Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home

References

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Venoth
13 August 2016
Another great place to visit and is quite similar to Kuala Gandah in Malaysia, except that this is in a much larger scale. You'd love the place for sure. Best to come in the mornings.
Ankur Banerjee
28 December 2015
Pinnawala is a government-run place where you're not allowed to touch the animals and it's all run by trained handlers, as opposed to Millennium. Entry is 2500 LKR for foreigners, 700 LKR for SAARC.
Pedro Aguirre
6 May 2013
Nice experience, you can get close to many elephants and take pictures very close to them... some baby elephants are free and walking all around... the only bad thing is that it is a bit expensive
Sapna Shah
26 January 2018
Stop paying for cruelty! Be a decent human being and go and see these amazing animals in the wild in Sri Lanka's national parks. This is not an orphanage, it's an exploitative zoo for tourists.
Miyuru Weerarathna
12 July 2016
Come here targeting the times where they feed the elephants and take them for a bath. They're the best times. Also don't hesitate to feed these little Cubs. They're so cute!!
Edea Nor
10 April 2014
It's definitely a highlight of Sri Lanka, however be aware of the "trainers" shamelessly asking you for tips after they willingly help u snap photos etc. One guy had the nerve to ask me for 2000 LKR!
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0.4km from Karandupona-Rambukkna Road, Pinnawala, Sri Lanka Get directions
Mon-Sun 9:00 AM–5:30 PM

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