First established in 1975, the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a turn on the Kandy – Colombo road about an hour’s drive from the Kandy city.
Back in 1972, the elephant orphanage was located within the Wilpattu National Park and kept being moved around until 1975 when it was moved to Pinnawela by the Department of Wildlife of Sri Lanka. It started out with four orphaned elephants and today is home to one of the largest herds of captive elephants in the world.
The main purpose of the orphanage is to ensure that orphaned elephants are rescued from the wild where they cannot fend for themselves and are properly looked after until they’re fully grown. Since the elephants are allowed to move free range, they have the opportunity to mate and the breeding program has given birth to over 20 elephants over the years.
Despite there being a controversy that the elephants are on display for tourists, the orphanage does not put their charges under any form of stress. It’s worth going and seeing for yourself to make a decision about the treatment the elephants receive.
Guests staying in hotels in Bandarawela have often enquired if it is possible to visit Pinnawela as part of their day trips to Kandy. Since it is on the way, it is quite advisable to check with your hotel, as some, like Bandarawela Hotel have these excursions on their offers. Pinnawela is located about 40 km from the Kandy city.
Fritzjames Stephen is a travel writer, who writes content based on the myriad of experiences and indulgences that the world has to offer travellers across all walks of life. Google+