Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a captive elephant-based recreation facility in Kegalle District, Sri Lanka. It maintains one of the largest captive population of elephants in the world belonging to the Elephas maximus maximus, the Sri Lankan subspecies of Asian elephant or Elephas maximus (Pushpakumara et al., 2016).  Due to the arrival of visitors in large numbers, this area presently has turned into a popular tourist destination in the country.

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was established in 1975 by the Department of Wildlife Conservation to provide refuge and care for elephants that were injured, orphaned, abandoned or separated from their families/herds in the wild (Rajapaksa, 2007; Tisdell & Bandara, 2003; Samarasinghe & Ahamed, 2016). In 1978, it was taken over by the Department of National Zoological Gardens (Samarasinghe & Ahamed, 2016; Dayanada & Weerakoon, 2012). The orphanage received elephants till 1985 at which time the Elephant Transit Home was established in Udawalawe National Park by the Department of Wildlife Conservation to rehabilitate orphaned elephants and release them back to the wild (Dayanada & Weerakoon, 2012). Although it stopped receiving elephants from the wild, the elephant population in the orphanage was grown over the years due to its successful breeding program (Dayanada & Weerakoon, 2012).

The orphanage
The Pinnawala orphanage extends in an area of 10.75 hectares of a former coconut plantation, bordering the Maha-Oya river (Rajapaksa, 2007; Tisdell & Bandara, 2003). As of December 2013, there were 79 elephants (45 females, 34 males) under the care of the orphanage (Pushpakumara et al., 2016).
1) Pinnawala by Amila Tennakoon is licensed under CC BY 2.0

1) Dayanada, W.G.N.B.P. and Weerakoon, D.K., 2012. Visitor survey of the Pinnawala elephant orphanage, Sri Lanka. Gajah, pp.3-10.
2) Pushpakumara, P.G.A., Rajapakse, R.C., Perera, B.M.A.O. and Brown, J.L., 2016. Reproductive performance of the largest captive Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) population in Sri Lanka. Animal reproduction science, 174, pp.93-99.
3) Rajapaksa, R., 2007, October. Captive breeding of elephants at Pinnawala elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka. In Proceedings of the EU-Asia Link Project Symposium “Managing the Health and Reproduction of Elephant Populations in Asia. pp. 23-28.
4) Samarasinghe, W.M.P. and Ahamed, A.R., 2016. A Preliminary study on Activity Budgets of Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus Linn.) at Elephant Orphanage. Bull. Env. Pharmacol. Life Sci, 5, pp.47-50.
5) Tisdell, C.A. and Bandara, R., 2003. Visitors' reaction to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka: A Survey (No. 1741-2016-140543) pp.1-22.

Location Map
This page was last updated on 4 April 2022
For a complete tourist map follow this link: Lankapradeepa Tourist Map

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