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Pinnawela Elephant Orphange – Pachyderms in Paradise

Sri Lanka, famed globally as an island paradise, attracts visitors from around the world. Incidentally, Sri Lankans are a race who love their beautiful country and are constantly travelling around enjoying the beauty of their motherland. Both local & international tourists are drawn by the sun-kissed turquoise beaches, pristine rainforests & exotic wildlife. Getting around and about is rather convenient, with most places around the island easily accessible by four-wheel drives or cars. In Sri Lanka, renting out a suitable vehicle is hassle-free, and for anyone wanting a car to travel around in ease and comfort, Casons Rent a Car offers a wide choice from economy to luxury travel, to any destination in Sri Lanka.

A very popular destination is the Elephant Orphanage in Pinnawela established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wild Life Conservation, to care for orphaned baby elephants, rescued or found in the wilds. This was also a big step in the conservation efforts of the Sri Lankan elephant.

Originally located at the Wilpattu National Park and relocated to Bentota and the Dehiwala Zoo, the elephant orphanage finally found a home in Pinnawela in the Kegalle district of the Sabaragamuwa Province. It is located in a 25 acre coconut plantation near the Maha Oya River.

At the time the Orphanage was established it had five baby elephants, but the numbers grew rapidly. In 2012 it was home to 78 elephants.

Bathing and feeding of the elephants at the reserve are a rather interesting spectacle. While shutterbugs witnessing the show click away, elephants are escorted by their mahouts (keepers) to the Maha Oya to indulge and frolic around in the water. Given free reign to enjoy the refreshing water, the impressive mammals, young and old, spray and splash themselves and others, whilst allowing the mahouts to scrub and bathe them. The jaunt to the waters is usually scheduled at 10.00 am and 2.00 p.m.The returns are planned for 12 noon and 4 p.m. This is a daily occurrence.

The feeding routine starts out with the adult elephants being given their fodder, comprising mainly of leaves and small plants. However the tourist favorite and a sight to behold, is the bottle feeding of the baby elephants. The thrilled visitors are allowed to feed the baby elephants under close supervision. The daily bottle feeding is scheduled at 9.15 a.m., 1.15 pm and 5 p.m.

The Orphanage has a successful breeding programme and has also helped to carry the message of elephant conservation worldwide.

Chandrishan Williams is a travel writer who writes under the pen name, Caleb Falcon. He specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers.

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