November 26, 1995
Web posted at: 12:15 a.m. EST
From International Correspondent Jackie Shymanski
PINOWLEW, Sri Lanka (CNN) -- They say an elephant never forgets, but what happens when an elephant is forgotten? In Sri Lanka, they can find refuge at the Pinowlew Elephant Farm, a home for orphaned and abandoned elephants who cannot survive in the wild.
People feed, groom and care for 46 elephants on the farm. The babies drink milk warmed to body temperature from super-size bottles, seven per feeding.
"Maybe at first they can't find their own food. So we bring it to them here," said Idris Salley, a caretaker at the elephant farm.
Outcasts like Raja, an old blind elephant who was wounded by hunters, live on the farm, as does an elephant rumored to have killed more than a dozen people.
The farm supports itself in part through tourists, who come for a rare close-up view of the animals.
"I have always been fascinated by them. So to come and get so close to them and to be able to touch them is a wonderful experience," said Patrick Nead. (506K QuickTime movie)
Wonderful enough to take one home?
"I've got a large garden, but as I'm away a lot, I don't know if that would necessarily be a good idea, and my neighbors might have something to say about it," said another tourist.
Hard as they are to resist, adoption should be considered carefully. The cute little orphans will someday grow to several tons. And they will be demanding dinner for the next 100 years.
Instead, some of the elephants go out and find jobs in circuses and zoos around the world, paying back a very special upbringing with attendance fees.
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