Pinnawala is an orphanage for elephants that have been abandoned by the herd or their family have been killed by poachers but also for those who have been hurt. This place is located in the village of Pinnawala, Sri Lanka. Such elephants are often unable to survive on their own without the help offered by human species. The tragedy is that small elephants do not survive in the wild because they are fed breast milk until the age of five. At that time there are 96 elephants alltogether in this particular orphanage.

The orphanage was established in 1975 by the Sri Lankan Department of Wildlife Conservation for elephants found in the wild to care for and protect them. In the beginning there were 5 elephants, then there were many more, until 1995. Since then, elephants have been brought to Elephant Transit Home, and in Pinnawala the number of elephants is increased only by birth.

In August 2021, the elephant Surangi gave birth to twins. It’s been the first time in 80 years. Twins in elephants are very rare because one of them often does not survive.

On the Internet there are different opinions about the orphanages in general. There are many pictures of elephants with chains on their legs or of people with sticks next to the elephants. But we sholud not forget it’s just for the safety of people. A full-grown elephant can weigh more than 4 tons. Male elephants are very aggressive during reproduction, which is why you need a chain and many experienced people to tame them up to create a safe place for everyone. Lots of people shout that elephants are being abused and tied to one place. For example, the Ceylon elephant eats practically all day long. There are almost 100 elephants in the Pinnawala, so they must eat at a given time in order to eat the right amount,. That is why they are tied so that they do not go away and leave food. I have been and seen everything by myself! There is one conclusion coming out… Being there, I did not notice any aggression towards the elephants. People evaluate the orphanage negatively by not being there and not seeing what the real situation is.


Olga’s own photos and experience from the trip to Sri Lanka and the following page:

Article written by Olga Dyner from class 2a. Edited by Ms Kossak-Wąchała