I volunteer in the orphanage for 2 months and let me tell you it was amazing, I got to see the elephants all day and see them in the activities of the day.,.
I am a veterinarian and let me tell you that these elephants are quite healthy considering the circustances that this is a country were human-elephant conflict exsists. People like to see them up close and for that they need to be trained I did not witnes any abuse and they have chains for training as you can se the adult ones are unchained it is the young ones that have then and the male working ones for they are more agressive.
They are dangerous and smart animals and well they have a good home at pinnawala.
The fees to enter are not that high and well about the fee that was mentioned with a camara and that it is because they are using it for a documerntary or for tv. I used my camara every day and my fee was as a regular tourist.
And about the maiting of the elephants they are animals and by nature they need to mate and they are not back in the wild because there is no were to be taken, Raja and Sama are 2 elephants that should of died long ago but by the help of pinnawala they are alive and taken care of. Raja is blind and old and has nice baths every day, clean water, food every day, and a veterinarian on call, every day. Sama is the elephant missing part of her leg and she is in a family environment and is loved by the herd.
So not expect to see them in a natural habitat because they are not, they try to keep it as natural as posible by allowing interaction in the herd, mating and bathing in the river. This is a good place to visist if you like to see elephants up close but as a tourist do not expect to ride them or to ineract with them because they try for them to have little human contact with outside staff. ther is a schedule in the enterance for you to see the activities and not miss any of the elephant activities.
I truly recomend this place and please do not write crap if you expect something without thinking of the great help that this place does for this animals. I know that it is in human nature to see $$$ every were, but they are still doing a great job.
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