Elephant Orphanage is an unfamiliar terminology, but it’s absolutely true and real. The secluded premises dedicated to provide a natural habitat for captive elephant’s weeks old babies to fifty-year-old parents and grandparents. The herd can be sited in the orphanage-only place of its kind of this population on earth to date. The elephant orphanage in Pinnawala to witness the feeding to the baby elephants. The elephant orphanage is about 2 and half hours drive from the hotel IN Colombo or Negombo and good chance for a people to get up close and personal with the pachyderm.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage and breeding ground established in 1975 for abandoned elephants in Sri Lanka. Currently its home to one of the largest elephant herds in captivity in the world with more than 85 elephants. Pinnawala was first established by Wild Life department Of Sri Lanka in 1975 on a 24- acre preserve near the town of Kegalle, halfway between Colombo, the commercial capital of Sri Lanka and Kandy. Its main purpose was to feed and provide care sanctuary to orphaned baby elephants that were found in wild. In 1978, the orphanage was taken over by the Department of National Zoological Gardens, and in 1982 breeding program was lunched. The river the ‘Maha Oya’ by the side of the orphanage plays a vital role and enable the elephants to mix and choose their partners. The inmates of the orphanage were generally brought in their early ages, and they were victims of the confrontation either with the humans or the nature. Causes of nature are primarily due to desperate search for water, and muddy fields are traps for these innocent creatures.
Every activity of the Pinnawala elephant orphanage has been planned to a timetable. The baby elephants are bottle fed at 0915 a.m. The gates are opened for visitors at 8.30 a.m., while the elephants take the stride to the valley nearby and to the eastern side of the orphanage. They could settle to move about in freedom, as many enjoy the mud/dust bath. At around 10.00 a.m. the herd of elephants move to the river for a refreshing bath. The river – ‘Maha Oya’ – is the third largest river in Sri Lankan, in terms of volume of water carried to sea. By 1.15 p.m. baby elephants receive another dose of milk while grown-up elephants receive snake of pellets. At 2.00 p.m. the elephants proceed to the river and remain bathing until 4.00 p.m. After this refreshing dip they return to the sheds.
At this time elephants receive their routine feed of foliage comprised of Kitul Palm and trunk, Coconut palm and Jack tree including other varieties of plants of the big family.
The average quantity of food intake of a grown-up elephant is 300 kg of foliage and 200 liters of water daily. Baby elephants feed on formula II powdered milk 5.5 liters as a time to make total of 27.5 liters a day. They normally get 2-3 meals in the night depending on the age and size.
More orphans join the orphanage year by year the captive population grows and the breeding continues in the orphanage. The Pinnawala Orphanage has recorded sixteen elephant births. The birth statistics reveal that there was only one mortality stillbirth, within its 24 years of operation.
The river possesses the characteristics that provide an ideal bathing atmosphere to elephants. The rocky bottom of the river provides isolated swallow pools, where elephants dip to splash and bathe. The water level generally is 1/2-meter-high and the river provide continuous flow of water in the dry months – February, July and August except in November and June where the volume would fluctuate.
It is good idea to go and have your lunch by the river while bathing elephants.
"We are an older couple celebrating a lot of years of marriage (and hiking) in Sri Lanka in February this year, for two weeks, and three days in the Maldives. Although we love to drive, we chose to go with a driver-guide, after planning the trip completely independently. (It turned out he might help us in the planning and selection of hotels, we own). The main advantage is reaching the sites, some of which are tired, refreshed after someone else used to bad roads, with bad signage - If you are i..." Sam
"We had a great time on last 10 days in on our honeymoon in beautiful Sri Lanka. Thank you very much for the stories, the explanations, driving, tips, care and always with a smile. Big thanks for you Cyril. We had an amazing honeymoon in this beautiful island! and you are the best guide and friend that we could have here!!! We will sure tell our friends and family about the trip and you!!! We will stay in touch and may be one day meet you again. Oded & Carol Israel 10 Oct 2014" Naim & Coral Fisher from Israel
"Dear Cyril, Here are some photos for you as we promised, and also little gift to you. Here is some photos of elephant boy which we were took on elephant ride. Please give to them when you go to Habarana again. We are very grateful to you for your services that you have done to make our holiday in this beautiful country. Still we are thinking over our nice trip with you. It was fantastic, really! Here in Holland, life is normal again. Greeting for your wife and daughter too. George and Cala ..." George and Cala
"We found Cyril on-line and after checking with lots of other guides we decided he is the one for us, that decision was the best one we did for our trip From the beginning, in our emails, Cyril listen to us and was very helpful, he gave us information and helped us to create the best trip for us.We had 10 days trip, for our honeymoon, to many parts of Sri-Lanka. the country is amazing, green, nice people and good food.Cyril was a great driver and even greater guide, he has so much knowledge and e..." Coral and Oded from Israel
"2nd to 15th November 2016 Dear Cyril, Thank you for arranging our first visit to your beautiful country. We had a very enjoyable, comfortable, safe, interesting and memorable holiday. All the accommodations you provided were very clean and comfortable and we will always remember the welcome, we felt when the smiling staff cheerfully looked after us and our every need. The itinerary you arranged was just right for us and made even better with the care you took whilst driving your very c..." Satwant and Doug from Australia
"Cyril was absolutly Fantastic,Veryhelpful, Patient and extremly knowledgable. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend and travel with him again. Whole tour was well organized and perfectly done. Kate Williams and family from UK 04th January 2015" Kate Williams UK
"Hi Mr.Cyril, Hope you and family and grandchild are doing fine. Hope to come to Sri Lanka again. We really enjoyed our trip especially with your special help and guidance. We will definitely contact you if at all we wish to visit Sri Lanka again. Thanks & Best Regards Mr. & Mrs.Pillai Singapore 29/7/11 " Mr & Mrs.Pillai from Singapore
"Thank you so much Cyril for guiding us around your beautiful country. We thoroughly enjoyed our time which was made particularly special by your professionalism, enthusiasm and friendliness. We wish you all the best in the future. Warm regards from, Aonghus O'Keefee and Sheela Hendricks- Ireland " Aonghus and Sheela Hendricks- Ireland
"Cyril was an excellent guide and gave us a very good insight into the history and cultures of Sri Lanka. He was always polite, helpful and prompt. His driving was always calm and controlled - unlike some of the other vehicles we saw!!! We would recommend him to others traveling to Sri Lanka. WH - UK - January 2011" Wilson Harland
"Dear Cyril, Sincerest apologies for this delayed email --- reason being that I had been extremely busy with work & travel, since returning from Sri Lanka and just got a breather now, to download our photos and catch up with private matters. Hope this email finds you & family, in the best of health & spirits. Your granddaughter must be keeping you busy and giving you & Mrs. Baddegama immense joy. At this end, we are doing fine. Nikhita is back at school, now in Grade 7 and havi..." Pradeep Kumar Menon - Singapore