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We arrived to Pinnawala early in the morning, and were soon greeted by some of the friendliest dogs in Sri Lanka.
This little guy nearly shook himself in two wagging his tail so hard, he was so excited to see people. It makes sense that near the elephant orphanage, visitors would be kind to animals.
The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage gives a home to elephants that have been orphaned or abandoned, and as of this writing, have 78 elephants in their care.
One elephant is blind while some elephants lost their parents to poaching or landmines. The orphanage provides a safe home to elephants who would otherwise not survive in the wild. In addition, the orphanage now has a successful breeding program - their environment quite hospitable.
The elephants roamed around the grounds surprisingly close to people -but not too close. With the assistance of one of the mahouts (handlers), you could see them even closer. (For a tip, of course. ;) )
I wouldn't have imagined one could see an elephant smile - but there seemed to be quite a bit of that.
"Yay! I'm gonna go play in the water now. Yay!"
After a little while, we went over to a corral area where the young elephants were fed with a bottle. This seemed a bit more for the guests amusement than the elephants... and at first these elephants seemed a little sad - a sadness quickly remedied when milk arrived.
After we wandered around the grounds for a bit, we walked down to a local cafe near the river to have some tea.
While we were there, a herd of elephants walked down to the river, led by the caretaker for some daily play.
This little guy lost his foot after stepping on a landmine.
I got to feed this guy bananas, which was massively awesome.
The elephants played in the water for quite some time before being led back to the orphanage.
Before they left, my mom took an adorable video of baby elephants playing in the water.
Links of Interest
- Wikipedia: Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage