Elephant Orphanage

 

When adult elephants are shot by farmers to protect their fields, or killed by poachers to get their ivory, there are sometimes baby elephants that survive the slaughter.  The hearts of most people can't help but go out to such helpless victims, and the people of Sri Lanka have created at least two elephant orphanages in response:  one at Pinnawala, the other at Uda Walewe.


photo M. Noonan


photo M. Noonan

The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is a place where 60+ elephants of this type have been brought together in a large, multi-acre facility.  It is a place of great optimism and hope.  This is because many of the Pinnawala elephants have by now grown into adulthood and are beginning to breed successfully on their own.  In fact, Pinnawala has the most successful breeding record of any captive facility.  This appears to reinforce the notion that the closer we bring captive conditions to those in the wild, the more successful the elephants will be at reproducing. 


photo M. Noonan
Recent birth at Pinnewala

In facilities like this, veterinarians and scientists are continuing to learn about the biology and the needs of these wonderful creatures so that we can do an increasingly better job of managing them both in captivity and in the wild. 


photo M. Noonan
At the Uda Walawe Elephant Orphanage, workers hand-feed milk to orphaned babies

 

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