Sri Lanka boasts of one of the highest rates of biological endemism in the world whether in plants or animals and is included among the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world. Of the ninety-one species of mammals found in Sri Lanka Asian Elephants, Sloth Bear, Leopards, Sambar and Wild Buffaloes engages the majority of the attention of wildlife enthusiast.
The ocean around Sri Lanka is home to large families of cetaceans including the mighty blue whales, sperm whales and lively dolphins.
National parks are a class of protected areas in Sri Lanka and are administered by the Department of Wildlife Conservation. All of the land in national parks are state-owned and the entire habitat is protected. Visitors are allowed to enter national parks but only for the purpose of observing flora and fauna and with a permit.
Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage is an orphanage, nursery and captive breeding ground for wild Asian elephants located at Pinnawala village, Sri Lanka. Pinnawala has the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. In 2011, there were 88 elephants, including 39 males and 49 females from 3 generations, living in Pinnawala.
It was established in 1975 by the Sri Lanka Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC).
Tourists can observe the bathing elephants from the broad river bank as the herd interacts socially, bathing and playing. The orphanage is open to the public daily, and all admission fees are used to look after the elephants. Visitors to the park can view the care and daily routine of the elephants, such as bottle feeding of elephant calves, feeding of all other elephants, and bathing in the Ma Oya (River).