Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
Log in with Facebook Log in with Twitter
Connect your Digital Journal account with Facebook or Twitter to use this feature.

article imageElephants of Sri Lanka: A Photo Essay Special

By Darren Weir     Jul 6, 2012 in Travel
Elephants, elephants and more elephants. If you have a passion for pachyderms you can get your fix in Pinnawala, Sri Lanka, home of the Elephant Orphanage.
The orphanage,about two hours from the capital of Colombo, takes in (usually) young elephants that are orphaned or injured or abused.
Right now there are 95 elephants housed there, ranging in size from under one meter to giants well over three meters from the tips of their toes to the tops of their heads.
Every day from 10am-noon and from 2-4pm they are herded down to the river by the Mahouts (handlers) for their twice a day bath or frolic in the cooling water.
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla  Sri Lanka
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla, Sri Lanka
image:118660:7::0
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla  Sri Lanka
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla, Sri Lanka
image:118668:8::0
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla  Sri Lanka
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla, Sri Lanka
image:118657:13::0
Bananas are available (for a price) so you can feed the elephants. They are very polite, gently taking the bananas from your hand.
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla  Sri Lanka
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla, Sri Lanka
image:118659:8::0
At one point one of the elephants mounted another… how many times does someone get a chance to see elephants 'doing it' up close. (A warning the video is graphic… viewer discretion advised!)
The orphanage has a pretty good success rate for breeding in captivity with several babies born each year. They usually stick close to mom… sometimes hiding under mom’s stomach if another elephant gets too close or they get scared of something.
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla  Sri Lanka
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla, Sri Lanka
image:118669:9::0
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla  Sri Lanka
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla, Sri Lanka
image:118663:11::0
I had the chance to bathe two of the elephants. I was handed a coconut husk and proceeded to scrub and wash the giant beast. He seemed to be enjoying himself and I had a ball.
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla  Sri Lanka
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla, Sri Lanka
image:118667:6::0
The elephant orphanage is just a few hundred meters away from the river and as they returned from the river one of the mahouts introduced me to Sama, a 20 year old elephant that had part of her front right leg blown off by a landmine, and I shot some video of her as she kept up with the others… pretty remarkable to see.
I saw what looked like a shrine and a statue of a giant elephant with long tusks… turned out it was alive, and it was 75 year old Raja, blinded by a spear gun in the jungle about 20 years earlier. He’s massive, and very calm and just stood there as tourists came up, gave him a scratch and took his photo.
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla  Sri Lanka
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla, Sri Lanka
image:118655:6::0
Don't miss a visit to the maternity and baby stable. I was lucky enough to see a giant female and her newborn baby (just one day old) as they stood around their stall area, mama chained to the floor and baby wandering back and forth under mother’s belly.
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla  Sri Lanka
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla, Sri Lanka
image:118664:6::0
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla  Sri Lanka
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla, Sri Lanka
image:118665:6::0
I got to feed one of the babies, I was hoping it would be one of the tiny ones, but it turned out they were 2-3 year old orphans. Apparently they guzzle down dozens of bottles at each feeding.
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla  Sri Lanka
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla, Sri Lanka
image:118662:6::0
I met up with a 4 month old baby as I headed for the exit and I couldn’t pass up the chance to get up close to him… a miniature elephant, less than one meter tall so that I towered over him. He was covered in wiry hair which I scratched for him and he nuzzled up close to me.
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla  Sri Lanka
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla, Sri Lanka
image:118666:6::0
A couple of elephants that are aggressive and don't play well with others were chained up during their bath but are untethered when they are able to calm down. But there are other areas that are off limits to tourists, like the remote area of the park that is for the 10 elephants deemed dangerous.
Elephant trying to break the chains that hold him. He is chained during bath time because he has bee...
Elephant trying to break the chains that hold him. He is chained during bath time because he has been aggressive in the past.
image:118672:6::0
I was sad to leave the elephants, but the clouds opened up near the end of the morning bath, and when they all headed toward the opposite river bank to get out of the rain, I hit the road to head back to Colombo, with memories to last a lifetime.
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla  Sri Lanka
photos from the Elephant Orphanage at Pinnawalla, Sri Lanka
image:118661:6::0
More about Elephants, Orphanage, Pinnawalla, Sri lanka, Baby elephant
More news from
Latest News
Top News

Corporate

Help & Support

News Links

copyright © 2014 digitaljournal.com   |   powered by dell servers