Has Pinnawela Become Just a Circus for Tourists?

Tourist attraction: elephants in the water at ...

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It was reported today that Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka has suspended two mahouts and a curator following the death of a 23-year-old male elephant in their care. The elephant is said to have died of wounds suffered when its keepers had poked it with sharp implements in November 2009 at the orphanage.

The orphanage was established in 1975 to care for abandoned elephants. Over the years it has become a major tourist attraction and some overseas visitors this month told me how disturbed and disgusted they were to see how the elephants were being treated by some of the keepers. They felt the tourist dollar has become more important than the animals themselves.

4 thoughts on “Has Pinnawela Become Just a Circus for Tourists?

  1. went to Pinnawella last december (2010) all seemed to be ok, except treatment of baby elephants who were tethered and quite distressed, rocking backwards and forwards and literally ‘crying’. old 60 year male who was blind didn’t look all that happy,but he was in the shade and well supplied with food and water. perhaps numbers of elephants been taken care of are too many for the keepers to handle, and rethink should been given to just how many elephants this site can accommodate.


  2. A carcass of an elephant baby was found in a krall at Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage on 16th February morning. It is suspected that the baby elephant may have been trampled or attacked by other elephants in the kraal after ‘Kumari,’ a she elephant, had given birth to it.

    ‘Ranmali,’ a pregnant she elephant, also had died earlier when other elephants had attacked her.

    Zoologists complain that in both these instances pregnancies of the she elephants were identified only after the accidents had taken place.


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