Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage – A Mammoth Step
On the way to Sri Lanka’s kingdom in the hills is a home for the majestic mammal, the elephant. The road to the orphanage is covered in shrubs and trees, giving the area a jungle like atmosphere, suitable for the indigenous Sri Lankan elephant (Elephas Maximus Maximus). Most elephant species are now extinct and the orphanage in Sri Lanka is highly acclaimed the world over for its commitment to the preservation of the species.
Asian culture recognizes elephants as intelligent, emotional and to possess an impeccable memory. They play a pivotal role in Sri Lankan traditions, being a part of ceremonies, processions and cultural festivals. A number of ornate and highly adorned elephants are a definite inclusion in the renowned ‘Kandy Perahera’ and other religious processions in the country.
The orphanage is administered by the National Zoological Gardens of Sri Lanka which also functions as a breeding ground for the large land mammal. Orphaned baby elephants found in the jungles too are taken under their caring wing and protected. The elephants are free to roam about in the spacious grounds of the orphanage and are well fed and cared for by the mahouts and volunteers. Large quantities of green manure, coconut leaves, jak fruit, tamarind, kitul (a local palm) leaves, maize and rice bran are fed to them in their stalls. Both foreign and local guests particularly enjoy interacting with the friendly animals as they gracefully ramble to the banks of the Maha Oya River twice a day, to quench their thirst and bathe. It’s a heavenly habitat for the descendants of the mammoth even though it is not quite the same as their natural life cycle.
Being one of the foremost elephant conservation projects in the world, a visit to the tiny island must be coupled with a visit to the orphanage. Sri Lanka travel is now a breeze with the emergence of Sri Lanka car rental services.