This was originally opened forty years ago as a haven for young elephants seen wandering alone and fairly aimlessly. It has been moved a few times until it settled at Pinnawala on a 10 hectare coconut plantation. Today it is involved in breeding, a nursery for elephants. The Orphanage has the largest herd of ‘captive’ elephants anywhere in the world.
Tourists have been visiting the Orphanage in good numbers. It is located halfway between the capital, Colombo and the famous town of Kandy. Visitors can see feeding time, the elephants walking down to the Ma Oya River for drinking and bathing. Mahouts give their charges a good scrub during this twice daily routine.
The females and babies are free to roam during the day, as close to a natural environment as is possible.