The Pinnawala Elephant orphanage was founded to protect and care for many orphaned wild elephants found around the forests of Sri Lanka. In 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of wildlife Conservation has established the orphanage. Also it is spread around 25 acres of coconut property which is adjoining to the Maha-Oya River. It is located in northwest of the Kegalle town, halfway between Colombo (90km from Colombo) and Kandy.
The orphanage was taken over by the National Zoological Gardens In 1978 from the Department of Wildlife. in 1982 A captive breeding program was launched. latest remarkable story was 25 year old elephant named called Surangi gave birth to twin male baby elephants at the orphanage. It also record as the first instance after 80 years since 1941 born of of twin elephants in Sri Lanka.
The key purpose of the starting orphanage is to resemble a elephants natural habitat. but, some exceptions applies are: the elephants herd are taken for river bath in twice a day, and all the baby elephants which are less than 3 years are bottle fed by the mahouts and volunteers. Over 20 elephants have been bred here. there are close to 100 Animals are living at Pinnawala.
Young elephants are sometimes fall into pits and ravines in their quest for water during drought periods. 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 to take care of the elephants. The elephants in Orphanage living freely as a herd during the day in across an area of a few acres. They are walk about .5 km twice a day to bathed in the river.
At night, the females are individually chained in stalls. Adult males 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 bottle fed elephant are kept at Pinnawala to 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. However Large quantities of elephant food such as Coconut, tamarind, jack fruit, kitul, and grass brought outside in daily, Each adult animal is given around 250 kilograms of this green matter per day and around 2 kg from a food bag containing maize and rice bran.
Daily Activities at Pinnawala
08.30 hours – Open to visitors
09.15 hours – Bottle feeding
10.00 hours – Herd of elephants leaving to the river
12.00 hours – Return from the river
13.15 hours – Bottle feeding
14.00 hours – Herd of elephants 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