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The orphanage is government run and was initially created to protect abandoned or orphaned elephants. It was set up in 1975 to rescue four orphaned baby elephants when they could no longer be looked after at Dehiwala (Colombo south) Zoo. Today it has become the home to the largest captive group of elephants in the world and is one of Sri Lanka’s most popular attractions, both among tourists and locals. Inside the Orphanage there are about 80 elephants of all ages and sizes, walking around a fairly large territory. The elephants are controlled by their mahouts (keepers), who feed them and watch out so they don`t endanger anyone. They do however walk freely around the area and among the visitors most of the time. The orphanage also houses baby elephants, which are really cute! Apparently, it is possible for visitors to bottle-feed a baby elephant if you pay extra. Each day from 10 to 12 in the morning, and from 2 to 4 in the afternoon, the mahouts take all the elephants down to a nearby river for bathing.