The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is halfway between the current capital, Colombo, and the ancient royal residence, Kandy, in the northwest of the town of Kegalle. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is located 90 kilometers from Colombo in the village of Pinnawala in the Kegalle district. The A1 Colombo-Kandy main road leads to Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage can be reached by taking a detour at the 82-kilometer marker in Kegalle. Rambukkana, which is 2 kilometers away from the village of Pinnawala, is the closest railway station. The Sri Lanka Wildlife Department established it in 1975 on a 25-acre coconut farm adjacent to the Maha Oya River.
The largest herd of captive elephants in the world can be found in Pinnawala. Pinnawala was home to 71 elephants in 2023, including 30 males and 41 females from three generations.
The mission of the orphanage was to provide care and protection for the numerous unweaned orphaned wild elephants that could be found wandering the forests of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) established it in 1975.
At the orphanage, on August 31, 2021, a 25-year-old elephant named Surangi gave birth to twin male elephant cubs. In addition, it marked the first time in 80 years that twin elephants were born in Sri Lanka.
The initial purpose of the orphanage was to provide care and security for the numerous orphaned elephants in Sri Lanka’s jungles. And also, offering a lifeline to orphaned baby elephants and adult elephants who have lived off into the wilderness on their own.
Additionally, each animal receives approximately 76 kg of green matter per day and approximately 2 kg from a food bag that contains rice bran and maize. Numerous Sri Lankan and international tourists regularly pay a visit to the orphanage, which boasts the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. The main draw is to watch the elephants bathe, which is quite a spectacle.
In addition, the Orphanage has begun a scientific captive breeding program for elephants today with the assistance of local and international experts. Since then, the orphanage has grown into one of the most successful Asian elephant captive breeding programs. The tragedy of the elephant population’s decline prompted the Sri Lankan government to establish the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. The good news is that elephants are still around, and more than 3,000 of them live in the jungles of Sri Lanka.
8:00 a.m. – Open to the Public
9:00 a.m. – Bottle Feeding
10:00 a.m. – Herd departs for the river
12:00 p.m. – Returns from the river
1:30 p.m. – Bottle Feeding
3:00 p.m. – Herd departs for the river
4:00 p.m. – Returns from the river
5:30 p.m. – Ticket counter close
6:00 p.m. – close to public
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+94 77 4 260 250
No. 427/2, Siyambalape North,
Monday-Friday 8.00am to 5.00 pm
Saturday 8.00 am to 1.00 pm