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one from the animal kingdom...

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The Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) is one of three recognized subspecies of the Asian Elephant, and native to Sri Lanka. Since 1986, Elephas maximus has been listed as endangered by IUCN as the population has declined by at least 50% over the last three generations. The species is pre-eminently threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.

Still an important cultural symbiosis has continued to exist between the elephant and humans for over two thousand years no religious procession is complete without elephants, and many large Buddhist temples in Sri Lanka still have their own elephants.

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Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage and breeding ground for wild elephants which is situated northwest of the town of Kegalle, Sri Lanka. It was established in 1975 to afford care and protection to the many orphaned elephants found in the jungle.

The aim of the orphanage is to simulate the natural world. However, there are some exceptions: the elephants are taken to the river twice daily for a bath, and all the babies under three years of age are still bottle fed by the mahouts and volunteers.

This elephant orphanage is also a breeding place for elephants. More than twenty-three elephants have been born since 1984, and the orphanage has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world.

It is also one of Sri Lanka's top tourist attractions.

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Did you spot the little one?

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2240 W: 34 N: 3884] (22053)
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