I had been to Srilanka last week with my friend Shail Mohan, Dr.Meena Kumari and her daughter! This is the first time I am going out, out of the country tour without my family and I enjoyed it a lot! It was fun roaming around with WOMEN friends, taking care of just myself (!) in another country! Srilanka looks just like our Kerala, but is cleaner and with less population. People seemed to be soft natured too and I liked the sing-sing tone of their language, whether it was Sinhalese or Tamil.
Our flight was one hour late on the first day and so we could not see much activities of the elephants like milk feeding, bathing etc. We reached Colombo and from there on our way to Kandy (night halt), we had lunch and then reached this Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage at 4.30 pm. It was only one and a quarter hour flight time from Chennai to Colombo! It was as if we were going to Hyderabad from Chennai! The elephants were returning from bathing. It would have been fun watching them taking bath. But....hmmm...Have a look at them esp. the one month old baby elephant walking in the front! Slowly, I am getting used to taking videos!
|Elephants are returning after having a bath in the river Ma Oya..we were late reaching this place and so, missed them taking bath!|
|They looked very disciplined...going in a row!|
|This elephant orphanage is in a large area of 25 acres with 48 mahouts for taking care of them!|
|Elephants were seen inside this enclosure!|
|Many baby elephants were with their mothers...a separate enclosure was there for just baby elephants...|
Now, to wikipedia for more information about this Orphanage. First, when I heard the name 'orphanage', I didn't like it. Then from wiki I came to know how people here are taking care of them...really great work.
The orphanage was established to feed, nurse and house young elephants found abandoned by their mothers. Young elephants sometimes fall into pits and ravines in their quest for water during drought period. Other orphans have been displaced from their wild habitat by development projects or have been found abandoned before weaning, diseased or wounded.
The elephants are fed in their stalls. There is very little food they can gather from the premises of the orphanage except some grass. Large quantities of Jack fruit, coconut, sugar palm tamarind and grass brought in daily, form the bulk of the elephants food. Each adult animal is given around 250 kilograms (550 lb) of this green matter per day and around 2 kg (4.4 lb) from a food bag containing rice bran and maize.
More than twenty-three elephants were born from 1984 to 1991. In 1998 there were fourteen births at Pinnawala, eight males and six females, with one second generation birth in early 1998. Since then till early 2012, 84 more were born at Pinnawala.
I had seen many elephants together at Vaikom's Seeveli but here, too many were there.
Thank you, Shail for taking me with you, here! I will never forget this experience!
Edited to add on 19th Aug.'15: My friend who accompanied me during our Srilankan trip, has written about how many hurdles we crossed before travelling to Srilanka along with beautiful pictures! Have a look!