Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage, in the hills of Sri Lanka near Kandy, is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants. With close to 100 elephants, nestled in 25 acres of coconut forest, Pinnawalla has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. Originally established by the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation to care for orphaned unweaned wild elephants.
On a daily basis (at scheduled times) the females and calves are herded together by the mahouts and walked right through the center of the village from the sanctuary to the Oya River where they bathe and hang out for a few hours before being herded back to the Sanctuary. It is quite the tourist attraction, complete with snack bars and viewing areas – and lots of tourists. That said, if you wander off to the edges where there are no human-creature comforts, you can be rewarded with some up-close, highly entertaining fun with the elephants – especially the youngsters who are all about rolling around in the water and are quite curious about the humans watching them.
I have mixed feelings about the orphanage. I started to write more here and have finally decided not to. If you are interested in the issue, there’s lots of info available on the internet to help you come to your own conclusions. For now, I will just share some images taken in the Oya River. Enjoy the elies . . . .