Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage ,one of the vital tourist attractions in the Beezer Land map ,has earned its name by facilitating its visitors to see the world's largest herd of wild elephants in captivity.
Established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wild Life Conservation, this foster home for jumbos has flourished into its present number of inmates starting from 4 to around 100 by now.
The number of orphaned baby elephants increased with the prevailing droughts of the times due to the calamitous confrontations their elders had, hence the home was established to take care of ,nurse and feed these baby jumbos.
With increasing deforestation wild elephants tend to invade the village lands for food. The giants being herbivorous feed on the verdancy painstakingly grown by the farmers. Driven away by the villagers or accidentally, the elephants fall into pits and wells in those areas .This finally leads to the abandonment of the calves.
Several precautions have been taken to subside the impact.
Nevertheless in the orphanage, motherless babies are welcomed to the herd by the elder females of the kind.
The fostering was first started at the Wilpattu National Park .Later shifted to Bentota(downsouth), Dehiwala( Colombo) and finally in Its present location Pinnawala.
Access is possible by car ,bus or train, on A1 Colombo Kandy Road, turning off at the 82 Km post at Kegalle or 2 Km from Rambukkana railway station.
Entrance from 8.30 a.m.
Their day consists of two feeding and bathing sessions.
The gigantic bellies are filled with around 75 kilos of green matter including coconut palm(Cocos nusifera),treacle palm(Caryota urens),jak(Artocarpus heterophyllus) and a bag of grain as food.
Visitors can involve in feeding the jumbos while the mahouts do so.
Bathing time is the height of the routine .The parade of the largest animals on land amble to the Ma Oya River is the scenario a visitor should not miss .You can watch them as seating facilities have been arranged on the bank of the river .Mothers pushing and gently slapping the reluctant babies is drama worth the visit .In the water the mammals play with water ,especially the young ones spraying water on each other .The bigger lie in water like boulders ,give them a rub if you wish while their caretakers wash them .The adorable baby jumbos are fun to see as most of them have to be pulled out of water for the return journey.
Veterinarians see to the health and well-being of the elephants of the home while their mahouts attend to them through the day.
The place is recognized for its contribution towards the multiplication of the number of elephants ,a breeding centre .The first baby conceived in captivity was born in 1982.Ever since the programme has increased the herd by adding 20 new born to it .Some elderly inmates are lucky as it is recorded to see their 3rd generation in the home.
The place is closed for visitors by 5.30p.m.
Don't miss this chance of witnessing the gentle giants' day in Pinnawala' Sri Lanka.