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COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s main elephant orphanage staged its biggest mass christening yesterday by naming 15 baby elephants which were born in captivity.
Thirteen babies born last year and two in 2010 were given names chosen from among thousands suggested by visitors to the Pinnawala orphanage, director Nihal Senaratne said.
“An astrologer looked at the time of birth of each elephant. He then decided on the first letter of each baby’s name according to its horoscope,” Senaratne said.
“The lucky letters were published and visitors were asked to suggest names accordingly.”
Foreign visitors named two of the babies Trinky and Elvina, while the others were given popular Sinhalese names including Mangala (“ceremonial”), Singithi (“small”) and Ahinsa (“innocent”).
The orphanage, in a coconut grove about 80km east of Colombo, is a major tourist attraction, and large crowds were present for yesterday’s ceremony.
Babies are fed milk in public and the entire herd is taken across a main road to a nearby river at bath time in a ritual that is popular with visitors.
The orphanage shelters 83 elephants, most of them abandoned or separated from their herds when they were babies. – Sapa-AFP