The elephant population is a major feature of Sri Lanka and, although endangered in the 1960s, is now protected and a regular sight on the island. Elephant in the wild live in tight-knit family herds of no more than 15, headed by an elderly female. Although elephants family ties are strong, it is common for ageing males to take voluntary retirement from the herd so that the females mate only with the virile younger bulls. The Pinnawella elephant orphanage providers most visitors with the best chance of seeing a large numbers of elephant at close quarters. The animals are free to roam around the sanctuary but come together at specific bath and feeding times.