K. G. Sumanabanda

From the list of elephant persons Family: Punchi

K. G. Sumanabanda
Kotuwe  Punchi
Dan Koehl visiting ex Chief Mahout at Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka, Mr K. G. Sumanabanda, and the young bull Atkandavihare (Vasale). Kegalle, 2010
Personal details
Country Sri Lanka

Work locations
Title elephant owner 2010
Location at Kotagama village in Sri Lanka

Title chief mahout 1981-2008
Location at Pinnawala elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka

Title mahout 1978-1981
Location at Sri Lanka National Zoological Gardens (Dehiwela Zoo) in Sri Lanka

Title mahout 1970-1978
Location at Kotagama village in Sri Lanka

Title apprentice keeper 1968-1970
Location at Sri Lanka National Zoological Gardens (Dehiwela Zoo) in Sri Lanka

Biography details

Kotuwe Gedara Sumanabanda Punchi , camp mahout in Sri Lanka

Born 1958-07-13 in Sri Lanka , son of mahout Apuhami Punchi and wife R. M. Ukuama .

Mr K. G. Sumanabanda is a four generation Sri Lankan Mahout, who was chief Mahout at the Pinnawala elephant orphanage since he was transfered there from Colombo Zoo in Dehivela Gardens in 1981 until 2010. He has worked with some 200 elephants.

Sumanabanda was born 13 July 1958 in his fathers house Hasthiraja Niwasa in the village Kotagama, in Rambukkana, (close to the Pinnawala elephant orphanage), son of wellknown Sri Lankan Mahout Punchi Apuhami. The family belongs to the high caste called Wallawue. Sumunabandas mother R.M Ukuama, and her father was the Mahout Siathu Hami from Kalu Galle.

Twelve years old, he and his brother Gunaratne started to help his father tend the families four elephants, Raja, died 20 years ago. Mudiyansee died 2002-04-01, Palikanatta (bull, died 35 years ago) and Menika died 2006. Weerasuriya Banda Hewahatta (Sumunabandas uncle, Apuhamis brother) trained the elephant Menika.

After Sumunabanda finished his studies in 1974, and started to work daily as mahouts with his fathers elephants. In the vicinity was some 25 elephants, and Sumunabanda helped his father when he was giving Ajurveda therapy to visiting elephants.

K. G. SumanabandaThe bull Mudiyanse, K.G. Samunabanda left, and his father Punchi Apuhami, 1984. Photo © Wayne Jackson, Canada.

K. G. Sumanabanda
The bull Mudiyanse, Samunabanda left, and his father, 1984. Photo Wayne Jackson, Canada.

In 1978 Samunabanda started to work as Mahout at Sri Lanka National Zoological Gardens (Dehiwela Zoo) in Colombo, under the late director Lyn de Alwis. Elephants were Letchemie, Babynoona, Bandoola, Namalie, Anusha, Sampath (both later PEO), Raja (killed Gunaseena and Piedase) Indi, Bibi and Baba. Shanti and Menika (trained in Jaffna army camp) (both later PEO).

In 1981 Samunabanda was transfered from Dehivela Gardens to Pinnawela elephant orphanage where he, together with two assistants, became responsible for their 13 elephants.

K. G. Sumanabanda

(Photo from the book les animaux sauvages ; l'éléphant) The Pinnawela Herd and chief Mahout K.G. Sumanabanda, in 1981. Not one single hotel, and only palm trees along the river. The elephants on the picture are 13; Vijaya, Neela, Hema, Mathalee, Randivi, Mahaweli, Kumari, Diula, Anuscha, Kadira, Komali, Weera (later Kandula I at the army camp), and Jadura. On the picture above is not one single hotel, and only palm trees along the river Maha Oya.

Sumanabanda was married 1989, and inherited his fathers house in Rambukkana, and had 4 daughters, youngest is Chandanie who was starring in a film.

In 1991 Sumunabanda participated in the delivering of Menika to Islamabad Zoo.
Sumunabanda also delivered the small elephant Migara to Beijing Zoo, where he stayed 28 days. On this trip was also the bull Aralia, and a female from Dehivela.
In 2010 he bought Atkandavihare (Vasale), a 22 years old wildborn bull, which he is now training.

Siblings

Siblings through the father Apuhami Punchi (1926-07-06-2002-11-27):

  1. Gunaratne Punchi

K. G. Sumanabanda s ancestral Ahnentafel:

P I II III

K. G. Sumanabanda
Born: 1958-07-13

Father:
Kotuwe

Born: 1926-07-06

Paternal Grandfather:
Kotuwe

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Reference list

References

Koehl, Dan, (2021). mahout R. Punchi in Sri Lanka. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 5 October 2022 at https://www.elephant.se/person.php?id=432. (archived at the Wayback machine)

Sources used for this article is among others:


Selected publications

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Categories mahout | camp | Pinnawala elephant orphanage | Punchi family | Born 1958 | People from Sri Lanka

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