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The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

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Book your Hotel in Pinnawela with overlooking the Elephant River

Established in 1975, the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage has become one of the most popular touristic destinations in Sri Lanka, for reasons that should be obvious. What, you need it spelled out? Fine: Orphan Elephants. Baby Orphan Elephants. Lots and lots of baby orphan elephants, that want to cuddle with you, and then frolic and play in the water. What kind of person could say “no” to that? Honestly, who could be like, “Nah, that sounds dumb”.

Pinnawela-Elephant-Orphanage Sri Lanka

We had an amazing time during our visit, as we knew we would. The elephants were remarkable. Beautiful, utterly friendly creatures, who’ve been lived their whole lives in the orphanage and are completely comfortable with humans. The day’s only negative was provided by the people working at the park. The “guards” who, from the moment we entered to the moment we left, were looking for money. Tips for petting an elephant. Tips for feeding, tips for pictures. Tips, just ’cause. Their wearisome greediness never abated. If an elephant approached you, a guard would appear like magic, angrily shooing it off with a pointed stick. Then, he would turn to you with a smile. “You like touch elephant?”

But this was a minor annoyance and it was hard to stay angry, surrounded, as we were, by at least sixty elephants. Besides, try as they might, the guards couldn’t keep up with everything. Once, a baby elephant the height of my chest waddled up to Jürgen and I, with its trunk extended. He squeezed my hand, and then pulled me close alongside his body. I figured he wanted a hug, so I gave him one. We had a full minute alone with this little guy, and it was a minute I’ll never forget.

The day’s highlight was bathing time. The elephants were led in a giant procession to the nearby river, where they were allowed to splash and play for two hours. The little ones rolled around in the water, while the adults sprayed water onto each other and cuddled. I could have watched them bathe all day long. So many elephants congregated in one place — I’m sure it’s possible to see something similar in the wild, but this was truly a special experience for us.

So we wholeheartedly recommend a trip to the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage. The money-grubbing guards are annoying, but as long as you’re prepared to ignore them, you’ll have an unforgettable experience.

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March of the Elephants
Sneaky Elephant
Playful Elephant
Contact With Baby Elephant
Close Encounter With Elephant
Elephant Snack
Bathing Elephants
Cute Elephant Baby
Drinking Elephants
Elephant Herd
Elephant LOL
Elephant Blog
Elephant Love
Elephant Pooping
Elephant Spa
Elephant Splash
Elephant Spray
Elephants Sri Lanka
Elephant Stretch
Elephant Treatment
Elephant Luck
Elephant Mess
Hi Hi Elephant
Hungry Elephant
Laughing Elephant
TRUNK
Silly Elephant
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February 24, 2012 at 11:48 am Comments (15)

Monkeyshines with the Toque Macaques

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After a morning marked by clouds and humidity, it finally started to rain yesterday afternoon. We didn’t mind much. A nice shower provides a welcome breath of fresh air here in Kandy, and we were safe under the roof of our porch. But creatures who live out in the open don’t much appreciate the rain. They’re forced to seek shelter, and our veranda seems to be an irresistible refuge. It’s monkey time!

Three brave monkeys were the first explorers. Two youngsters and an older one appeared on the railing and soon approached us, while we were sitting on the balcony chairs. The little ones were skittish, but the large male was almost too bold. These are Toque Macaques, only found in Sri Lanka, and otherwise known as the Temple Monkeys. Indeed, when we visited the Temple of the Tooth, a large number of them were hanging around, listening to the chanting. They’re cultured.

They’re also endangered. Toque Macaques have been dying out at a alarming rate due to human encroachment on their lands. Their biggest predators are dogs. According to the IUCN Redlist, their population has decreased by 50% in just three generations.

But at least in the area immediately surrounding our house, there seem to be plenty of the cute, fluffy-haired guys. Minutes after the courageous explorations of the three conquistadors, a cadre of refuge-seeking monkeys arrived in force. Now a little skittish ourselves, we brought the chairs inside, shut the doors and sat down at the window to enjoy an hour of literal monkey business. These macaques are…

Crazy Cute! – They’d wrestle with and playfully attack each other. One monkey was leaping up to the railing, until another little bastard grabbed his tail, yanked him back down to the ground, and leaped upon him with glee. The babies are super-curious, and would come to the window to stare at us, staring at them.

Kinda Gross! – I’ve never seen so much shit and piss. They seemed to delight in peeing all over our balcony. Or pooping, and then wrestling in it. Nasty freaks!

A Little Creepy! – Eventually, we had about twelve macaques on the veranda, trying to gain entrance to our house. Tapping on the windows, gnawing on the door frame. It was like a cuter version of Night of the Living Dead.

After about an hour of excrement and play, they left. And although mopping up their pigsty wasn’t the funnest task in the world, we are hopeful that they’ll return. Who knows… the next day was supposed to be rainy, too!

Other Cute Monkeys

Monkey Munch
Toque-Macaque
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February 17, 2012 at 3:07 pm Comments (9)
The Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage Established in 1975, the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage has become one of the most popular touristic destinations in Sri Lanka, for reasons that should be obvious. What, you need it spelled out? Fine: Orphan Elephants. Baby Orphan Elephants. Lots and lots of baby orphan elephants, that want to cuddle with you, and then frolic and play in the water. What kind of person could say "no" to that? Honestly, who could be like, "Nah, that sounds dumb".
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