Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

Situated just outside the town of Kegalle, some forty kilometres west of Kandy the Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage (daily 8.30am-6pm; Rs500, video cameras Free of charge now) is one of Sri Lanka s most popular tourist attractions. It was set up in 1975 to look after seven orphaned baby elephants, though the orphanage's population has now mushroomed to around 65, making it the world's largest collection of captive elephants. The elephants here range in age from newborns to elderly matriarchs, and include orphaned and abandoned elephants, as well as those injured in the wild (often in conflicts with farmers), amongst them famous residents such as the three-legged elephant, Sama, who stood on a land mine, and a blind elephant, Raja. In addition, the orphanage’s population is constantly augmented by new arrivals born in captivity: about one elephant is born here every year (as of 2009, 22 elephants had been born in the orphanage), and the baby elephants here are without doubt the tiniest and cutest you're ever likely to see. The adult elephants work in the orphanage itself, earning their keep by helping with various chores, such as collecting food.



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