Pinnawela is a beautiful village on the banks of a river near Kegalle, a town that is between Colombo the commercial capital and Kandy the cultural capital.
The pictorial village the world’s only elephant orphanage that cares for the largest elephant herd in captivity. It shelters many baby elephants, as well as a blind elephant and one crippled.
The Sri Lankan species Elephas Maximus Maximus is the largest of the Asiatic elephant genus, and has patches with no skin color on its ears, face, trunk and belly. They are the darkest of all Asiatic elephants. Seeing this large herd of these behemoths is a great experience you can have on a Sri Lanka trip.
In February 2011, the Elephant Orphanage of Pinnawela recorded the birth of the 55th baby elephant in its 40 year existence. The count stood at 86 with the latest addition.
The orphanage was founded in 1972 at the Wilpattu National Park, and was relocated in 1976 in to a 10 hectare coconut plantation on the banks of the Mahaoya River. The herd visits the river twice a day, the sight of the herd frolicking in the river deemed as a ‘must see’ for visitors.
The breeding program in the Orphanage was started in 1982. The breeding commenced with two males and three females. The male and female pair named Vijaya and Kumari has produced three calves at intervals of five and four years.
The Orphanage also produces paper made of elephant dung. The process is industrially feasible and commercially viable. The Elephant dung Paper is branded as “Pachyderm.” It provides an income to the villagers who are conservation enthusiasts fully integrated to the elephant orphanage that is the nucleus of a thriving village economy, all a part of a Holiday in Sri Lanka.