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“Very disappointed”

Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage
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3 Day Tour to Kandy Nuwara Eliya & Sigiriya from...
Ranked #1 of 5 things to do in Pinnawala
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Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Reviewed 1 May 2018 via mobile

When I was looking for a place to visit animals close to Kandy, the Elephant Orphanage was indicated and my first question was if they have animals for tourists or because they take care of them, and I was told that they were taking good care of the elephants!
Unfortunately, I didn’t like what I saw... the animals are clearly scared from the staff, who handle stick with sharp metal in the end.
Another elephant was chained in the neck and paws while people was giving him food, one after other... no limit!
Even the baby elephants were with chain in front and back paws! Really sad!
I left because they were just having business with the animals... because the elephants should be the ones in comfortable environment, not the people!

Date of experience: May 2018
11  Thank tatichiarella
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"the river"
in 1,243 reviews
"baby elephants"
in 395 reviews
"elephant orphanage"
in 299 reviews
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in 324 reviews
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"milk feeding"
in 88 reviews
"elephant bathing"
in 75 reviews
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in 32 reviews
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205 - 209 of 3,681 reviews

Reviewed 1 May 2018

I have to be honest after reading negative reviews of the orphanage on trip adviser I did not want to visit here and was talked into it by our tour organiser..but I am so glad I did.
We arrived early and our organiser bought us tickets to give the babies their milk and to feed an older one fruit. I was wary of this as it seemed very intrusive but watching the babies playing with the keepers reassured me they were happy and the older one certainly new which treats she wanted first from the fruit basket.
Everywhere was spotless and I saw nothing but care from the keepers to the elephants. Soon enough the elephants were down at the river. I got a little upset as one elephant had been chained and seemed distressed. On asking our guide why he explained she would run away if not and could not take care of herself in the wild on her own and did not have the social skills to join a herd. My unrest was soon settled though as some other elephants joined her and she soon settled she just wanted company.
Whilst it is not ideal for elephants to be kept in captivity it is however a fact that these elephants need cared for. Sri Lanka now also has a transit orphanage so hopefully moving forward more orphans will be returned to the wild.
Given that the elephants at Pinawalla will always need cared for I recommend you visit if only to help pay for their upkeep. I see no need though for a breeding programme to be in place. Tourists would rather see older elephants knowing this is ethically sound than to visit somewhere which is breeding babies to show although we did not see any really young ones. Something for the management to think about.
More and more travellers are now wildlife tourists who care about all of the animals they see. To end on a positive I do recommend still visiting as it was such positive experience whish put a lot of my fears to rest.

Date of experience: April 2018
2  Thank LB205
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 April 2018 via mobile

We were taken here while on holiday and were horrified og gode the elephants was treated. I would not recommend it to anyone, and will never gi again. God on safari in national parks instead.

Date of experience: May 2017
13  Thank Renni123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 April 2018 via mobile

An amazing day watching orphan elephants being feed and playing in the river. Relaxing sunny morning. A little more commercialised than when I last visited thirty years ago. Lovely to see lots of families visiting.

Date of experience: April 2018
1  Thank craigaH3359QC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 April 2018 via mobile

I was grabbed by the scene as soon as I saw elephants taking bath in the river. I missed the feeding time, but enjoyed getting close to baby elephants. However, I am not if they were really happy being there. Most of them were chained and the keepers didn't seem very kind to them. I understand they were considering visitirs safety, but could be more soft.
The entrance fee was a little expensive. You can enjoy shopping handicrafts in the place. I appreciated the recovery factory which tranforms elepahts' excretions to paper- based stuff such as calendars, notebooks and accessories. Enjoy having fresh king coconut juice too!

Date of experience: April 2018
2  Thank Morvarid R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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