In a country that does an outstanding job at maintaining protected land, for the benefit of animals remaining in their wild environment, there’s no reason a collective of elephants should be chained behind fences.
Last we heard, orphanages were designed to care for living beings who are otherwise disadvantaged, before a more appropriate home be found. Pinnawala appears to be an environment focused more on keeping elephants, without an initiative to rehabilitate back into the wild. One would expect that an orphanage which charges admission would showcase such initiatives to patrons should this in fact be the motivation.
Ever seen the movie Black Fish? What we witnessed resembled the elephant version of under stimulated animals, showing clear signs of frustration, and cruely kept in a way that is not their preference. If only I’d thought to pull my camera out rather than simply stare in utter disbelief as a smaller elephant stood with a chain around each of the front and rear ankles, preventing it from moving more than a centremetre or two, and unable to sit down. The elephant’s behaviour was clearly frustration and I hate to consider how long the “solitary confinement” lasted for.
One Mahout recommended we don’t get too close a particular elephant because “he is very naughty” after we believe we saw the Mahout taunt said elephant with rocks.
Every door entry, every souvenir purchase, and every food or beverage payment is money in the pockets of keeping this place open. We ask that you consider spending elsewhere.