Mass baby elephant christening
Sri Lanka's main elephant orphanage staged a mass christening on Sunday by naming 15 baby elephants born in captivity.
Fifteen calves born in 2011 and 2010 were given names chosen from among thousands suggested by visitors to the orphanage at Pinnawela, en-route to the historic hill Capital of Kandy, last royal citadel of Sri Lanka's kings.
"An astrologer looked at the time of birth of each elephant, then cast its horoscope and decided on the first letter of each baby's name according to the position of the stars at the time of birth," said the director of the Orphanage Mr Nihal Senaratne. "The lucky letters were published and visitors were asked to suggest names accordingly," he said, adding that Sunday's ceremony was the biggest ever at the baby elephant orphanage, since it opened in 1975.
Foreign visitors to the orphanage named two of the calves Trinky and Elvina, while the others were given popular Sinhalese names including Mangala, meaning ceremonial, Singithi, meaning small and Ahinsa, meaning innocent.
The orphanage, in a coconut grove about 80 kilometres east of Colombo, is a major tourist attraction and large crowds were present for Sunday's ceremony.
Formally established in 1975, the orphanage shelters 83 elephants, most of whom were abandoned or separated from their herds when they were babies. Many have also been born at the orphanage.
Sri Lanka's elephant population remains healthy despite decades of fighting between government and Tamil terrorists in the island's north-east jungles, with a survey last year showing there were over 7,000 in the wild.
- Asian Tribune –