- Elephant haven
orphanage is situated north of the town of Kegalla, halfway between
the present capital Colombo and the ancient royal residence Kandy
in the hills of central Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 by
the Sri Lanka Wildlife department. There are only a few elephant
orphanages in the world. Pinnawela has now become one of the bigger
orphanages and is quite well known world wide.
The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage was started in 1975 by the
Department of Wildlife on
a twenty five acre coconut property on the Maha Oya river at Rambukkana.
The orphanage was primarily designed to afford care and protection
to the many baby elephants found in the jungle without their mothers.
In most of these cases the mother had either died or been killed.
Initially this orphanage was at the Wilpattu National Park, then
shifted to the tourist complex at Bentota and then to the Dehiwala
From the Dehiwala
Zoo it was shifted in 1975 to Pinnawela. At the time it was shifted,
the orphanage had five baby elephants which formed its nucleus.
It was hoped that this facility would attract both local and foreign
visitors, the income from which would help to maintain the orphanage.
In 1978 the
Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage was taken over by the National Zoological
Gardens and a captive breeding program was launched in 1982. There
were five mahouts for the twelve elephants when the orphanage was
taken over in 1978 and now there are twenty mahouts. This number
is inadequate to manage the increasing and growing number of elephants.
At Pinnawela an attempt was made to simulate, in a limited
way, the conditions in the wild. Animals are allowed to roam freely
during the day and a herd structure allowed to form.
are fed on milk in the mornings and allowed to range freely on the
12 acres large grassland. Between 4.30 and 6.00 in the evening the
animals are taken to their stalls and tethered for the night They
are then given their evening feed which is milk again for the babies
and leaves for the older ones. The leaves are mainly Coconut leaves
(Cocos nucifera), but also branches from Jak (Artocarpus integra),
leaves, branches and logs of the Kitul palm (Caryoty urens).
are stall fed. There is very little edible material that they can
gather from the premises of the orphanage except for grass. Large
quantities of food are brought in daily. Jak, coconut, kitul, tamarind
and grass form the bulk of the food given to the elephants at Pinnawela.
Each animal gets approximately 76kg of green matter a day and in
addition each gets 2kg of a food mixture containing maize, rice
bran, powdered gingelly seed and minerals. They have access to water
twice a day from the river Maha Oya that runs by the Orphanage.
There is one
female named Sama which was brought in from the northern part of
the country with the lower part of her front foot blown off by a
land mine. She copes with the leg which is about six inches shorter
than the other three.
The conditions at Pinnawela are conducive to breeding. Upto
the middle of 1998 there have been fourteen births, eight males
and six females at Pinnawela, with one (1) second generation birth
in early 1998.
of the first three calves born at Pinnawela was Vijaya. It was not
possible to determine the father of the next calves since many males
used to mate with the females in oestrus. Now through DNA fingerprinting
the fathers of three have been identified. Vijaya and Kumari have
produced three calves at intervals of five and four years.
The first birth
at Pinnawela was in 1984, a female, to Vijaya and Kumari who were
aged 21 and 20 years respectively at the time of the birth. In 1993
Vijaya and Kumari were 30 and 29 years respectively.
There are other
records of the birth of elephants in captivity in Sri Lanka but
most of these are of females that had been captured after they had
conceived in the wild. There are also records of tamed elephants
having mated with other tamed elephants and giving birth. These
are however few and far between.
In 1997 and 1998 research was conducted in Pinnawela through
a joint venture by the Institute Wildbiologie at Vienna University
in Austria and the Zoological Institutes of Colombo and Peradeniya
in Sri Lanka, under the supervision of Dr. Fred Kurt. Veterinary
students from the Universities collected data about body measurements
and growth, food assimilation, social interactions, sleeping behaviour,
tool-using, and stereotypical behaviors, later publicized in different
scientific media. (-Peradeniya Zoological Institute
A Canadian is having his 'petit dejeuner' (coffee, croissants,
bread, butter & jam) when an American man, chewing gum, sits down
next to him. The Canadian ignores the American who, nevertheless,
starts a conversation.
American: "You Canada folk eat the whole bread?"
Canadian (in a bad mood): "Of course."
American: (after blowing a huge bubble) "We don't. In the States,
we only eat what's inside. The crusts we collect in a container, recycle
it, transform them into croissants and sell them to Canada."
The American has a smirk on his face.
The Canadian listens in silence.
The American persists: "D'ya eat jelly with the bread?"
Canadian: "Of course."
American: (cracking his gum between his teeth and chuckling). "We
don't. In the States we eat fresh fruit for breakfast, then we put
all the peels, seeds, and left overs in containers, recycle them,
transform them into jam and sell the jam to Canada."
The Canadian then asks: "Do you have sex in America?"
American: "Why of course we do", the American says with
a big smirk.
Canadian: "And what do you do with the condoms once you've used
American: "We throw them away, of course."
Canadian: "We don't. In Canada, we put them in a container, recycle
them, melt them down into chewing gum and sell them to America."
A guy kidnaps 3 men, one from England, one from Australia,
and one from Mexico. He says "I'll let you free if you can
tell me where we are by just sticking your hand out the window."
So the guy from England sticks his hand out the window and guesses,
" We're in England because its so damp and rainy."
The kidnapper says "Wrong!"
Next the Australian sticks his hand out the window. He guesses,
"We're in Australia because its so warm."
The kidnapper says "Wrong!"
Now the Mexican puts his hand out the window. He guesses, "We're
"How do you know?" the kidnapper said.
The Mexican said, "Because my watch is gone."
The following is a telephone exchange between a hotel guest
and room-service at a hotel in Asia, which was recorded and published
in the Far East Economic Review.
Room Service (RS): "Morny. Ruin sorbees"
Guest (G): "Sorry, I thought I dialled room-service"
RS: "Rye..Ruin sorbees.. morny! Djewish to odor sunteen?"
G: "Uh..yes..I'd like some bacon and eggs"
RS: "Ow july den?"
RS: "Ow july den?...pry, boy, pooch?"
G: "Oh, the eggs! How do I like them? Sorry, scrambled please."
RS: "Ow july dee bayhcem...crease?"
G: "Crisp will be fine."
RS: "Hokay. An san tos?"
RS: "San tos. July san tos?"
G: "I don't think so"
RS: "No? Judo one toes??"
G: "I feel really bad about this, but I don't know what 'judo
one toes' means."
RS: "Toes! toes!...why djew don juan toes? Ow bow singlish
mopping we bother?"
G: "English muffin!! I've got it! You were saying 'Toast.'
Fine. Yes, an English muffin will be fine."
RS: "We bother?"
G: "No. Just put the bother on the side."
G: "I mean butter. Just put it on the side."
G: "Yes. Coffee please, and that's all."
RS: "One Minnie. Ass ruin torino fee, strangle ache, crease
baychem, tossy singlish mopping we bother honey sigh, and copy....rye??"
G: "Whatever you say"
G: "You're welcome"