Amid concern about exploiting elephants for tourism, Pinnawala in Sri Lanka gets the thumbs up


Our previous post reveals increasing efforts by London-based World Animal Protection (WAP) to stop the abusive exploitation of elephants for tourism.

This is a cause for great concern in Sri Lanka, especially following online criticism of our famed Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.

This conservation project is indeed a popular tourist attraction—but, as veteran travel blogger Michael Turtle discovered, there is much more to it than that.


He writes on Time Travel Turtle: “A peaceful sanctuary or an exploitative tourist trap? This is the conundrum at the centre of the debate about Sri Lanka’s Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage.

“Tourists who do some research often end up wondering whether they should visit the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage. Ethical travellers want to support animal welfare projects and see examples of positive change.

“But can conservation and chains go hand-in-hand? Because this is what you seem to get here.”


And he concludes: “It is not fair to claim, like others have, that the elephants are being exploited to make money from tourism.

“I genuinely believe that the welfare of the elephants is the number one priority. But at the heart of the legitimate concerns that do exist is the relationship between tourism and conservation.

“In order to fund the conservation, tourism is necessary. But in order to provide tourism, there are some changes to the way the conservation is practised. However, this is the case with projects all across the world and is not a new issue.”

Read the full post here.


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