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Pinnawala Elephant Orphange

Pinnawala orphanage is situated northwest of the town Kegalle, halfway between the present capitol Colombo and the ancient royal residence Kandy in the hills of central Sri Lanka. It was established 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife department. This 24 acres large elephant orphanage is a also breeding pace for elephants, twenty elephants were born since 1984, and it has the greatest herd of elephants in captivity in the world.

•    1975: 5 baby elephants
•    1978: 12 elephants, of those 5 babies.
•    1997: 56 elephants, and in
•    1998: 63 elephants
•    2000 70 elephants
•    2003 65 elephants


At Pinnawela an attempt was made to simulate, in a limited way, the conditions in the wild.
Animals are allowed to roam freely during the day and a herd structure allowed to form.

08.00 The babies are fed on milk in the mornings and allowed to range freely on the 12 acres large grassland.


10.00 Each morning and afternoon 14.00 the animals are walked 400 meters to the river Maha Oya for a two-hour bath.

Beteween 16.30 and 1800 in the evening the animals are taken to their stalls and tethered for the night.
They are then given their evening feed which is milk again for the babies and leaves for the older ones. Plenty of food and water is available.

The leaves are mainy Cocunut leaves (Cocos nucifera), but also branches from Jackfruit
(Artocarpus integra), leaves, branches and logs of Kitul palm tree (Caryoty urens),
from There is no stress or threat to the animals.

The elephants are stall fed. There is very little food material that they can gather from the premises of the orphanage except grass. Large quantities of food are brought in daily. Jackfruit, coconut, kitul, tamarind and grass form the bulk of the food given to the elephants at Pinnawela.

Each animal gets approximately 75 kg of green matter a day and in addition each gets 2kg of a food mixture containing maize, rice bran, powdered gingelly seed and minerals. They have access to water twice a day from the river Maha Oya that runs by the Orphanage.

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