Visiting Sri Lanka?
Planning to visit Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage?
Pinnawala is one of the top places to visit whilst on holiday to this paradise island but perhaps think again and question your guide, but if you do pay a visit then please BE A RESPONSIBLE TOURIST-stay back & observe with a camera!
I volunteered at the "orphanage" in 2004, I then had my concerns about the honesty of the orphanage & welfare of the elephants but the venue appears to have grown hugely in popularity & this only has a detrimental impact on the elephants!
Here are just a few reasons why not to visit...
1) Little evidence of reintroduction after rescue. Elephants tend to stay captive with little to no attempt at rerelease.
2) If they don't remain at Pinnawala then they may be donated to temples committing them to a life of misery.
3) There are no measures to cope with musthing bull elephants, they are more often than not chained to the same tree (with very little slack) for up to 6months, it seems this hasn’t changed since I visited 14 years ago!!
4) The place is one big tourist attraction. There is a constant presence of baby elephants to supply tourists
with bottle feeding and photo opportunities as well as plenty of selfie moments at the river with chained elephants.
If you'd like to see elephants in Sri Lanka then Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home actually rescue, rehabilitate and release elephants back to the wild, a much more ethical project to support.
Or visit them in the wild as I did on safari in Udawalawe NP, there is nothing like searching for wild elephants, spotting their foot prints and poo, but man if you see them it is an experience you WON'T forget!
If you have an elephant story from Sri Lanka, we'd love to hear it, email us [email protected]