Monday, February 11, 2013

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

Today we left Colombo for a trip north.  Our first stop was the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage located near the town of Kegalle.  The orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground is home to more than 80 elephants.    The orphanage provides care for elephants who have been found in the wild with out their mothers.  In some instances the mothers have been killed, or the babies have fallen in to pits or wells and been separated by their mothers.  When we arrived we had lunch at a restaurant overlooking the river where one herd of elephants had been brought for a bath.  We had a chance to get up close and personal with the elephants... some of us were willing to get closer than others!

After lunch we went across to the feeding area and watched a few elephants being fed.

These were the youngest elephants at the orphanage.  They had both been rescued after falling into a pit and separated from their mothers.  They are only a few months old.

After our tour of Pinnawela, we went to see a workshop where they make paper out of elephant dung! Sounds gross?  An elephants diet is 100% vegetation so their dung is all fiber.  We watched how they washed the dung, dried it, dyed it, and the paper making process.  It was fascinating!

the washed and dried fiber
no smell!!!

soaking the fiber

mixing the sofened fiber

smoothing the pulp

drying the pulp on a screen

the final product... a sheet of paper!  The machine in the paper was used to smooth the paper.
They use the paper to make a number of products like notebooks, Christmas ornaments, photo albums, and gift boxes.  What a great use of a waste product!

No comments:

Post a Comment