After reading the reviews on here, and being a real animal lover, I was a little apprehensive about what I would find at the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. However I left the orphanage pleasantly surprised. The majority of the elephants are able to wonder about free... I was expecting all the elephants to have chains on but this was not the case. There are a couple of the male elephants that were chained up but this was only while they were moving the rest of the herd. The baby elephants had a small chain on one leg during their milk time, but this was only to keep them in one place. One of the babies escaped their chain and started wondering around. At no point did the staff attempt to frighten the baby back, they were guided back carefully and the staff thought it was just as funny as we did.
When the elephants went down to the river again only the male elephants had a leg chain on and as soon as they got to the water these were all taken off while I was delighted about.
You can of course argue the ethics behind the centre... Yes they are breeding and maybe more should be done to attempt to reintroduce these elephants back in to the wild. But on the whole, I felt as though the elephants there were well looked after and were happy.
If you want to feed a baby elephant (again not possibly the best thing but it helps towards the cost of milk) then you need to get to the orphanage for about 8.30 as there is a limit to the amount of people who can do it. At about 9.45 make your way down to the river, you can get a very reasonably priced drink and prime viewing spot from the little cafe/restaurant and watch as the herd comes racing down the street. Unmissable!
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