The Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage was facing a risk of being blacklisted for tourists due to various reasons including overcrowding of the orphanage, Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunge said.
He told Parliament that a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) had filed a case against it at the Court of Appeal which had also aggravated the situation.
He was responding to a question raised by Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Hesha Vithanage.
The Minister said arrival of tourists and income of the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage has been decreasing annually and said the ministry was planning to develop it in the future.
“Several reasons resulted in the decrease of income and arrival of tourists. Some administrative changes had been made in the Orphanage as there had been certain issues after tame elephants that were taken into custody during the previous government, were taken there. An NGO has filed a case in the Appeal Court as well,” he said.
When asked about the discontinuing the opportunity given to visitors to bottle feed the baby elephants, he said it was stopped due to practical reasons.
“Bottle feeding was stopped as it was not good to give the baby elephants artificial milk and they should not be separated from the mother elephants,” he said.
He said plans were afoot to develop the Orphanage by increasing facilities for visitors and animals as well. (Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera)