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The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was established in 1975 to rescue injured and orphaned elephants and is today one of the island’s most popular tourist attractions. With around 80 elephants of all ages, it provides visitors a unique opportunity to see the pachyderms at close quarters and is one of the few places in Sri Lanka where captive elephants have bred successfully. Some of Pinnawala’s original orphans are now living with their own offspring and the animals have developed close-knit bonds among themselves and their mahouts. The highlight is to watch the herd travel down to the river for their daily bath where you can observe the mischievous antics of the calves and the adults blissfully immersing themselves in the cooling waters.

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