An elephant was put on display at a Sri Lankan festival, but it’s old, bony frame was covered by a costume, wildlife advocates said.
Images of 70-year-old elephant Tikiri’s frail frame were shared on Facebook by the Save Elephant Foundation, a charity dedicated to protecting Asian elephants.
“Tikiri joins in the parade early every evening until late at night every night for ten consecutive nights, amidst the noise, the fireworks, and smoke,” the foundation wrote.
The foundation explained the elephant’s “bony body” and “weakened condition” was hidden from onlookers by its costume.
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“No-one sees her difficulty to step as her legs are short shackled while she walks.”
“She walks many kilometres every night so that people will feel blessed during the ceremony.”
Tikiri was from the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy and was paraded during the Perahera Festival, one of the oldest Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka held in July and August.
“How can we call this a blessing, or something holy, if we make other lives to suffer?”, the Save Elephant Foundation asked.
The images caused outrage online.
“I can’t believe they do this to her she is so old, skinny and fragile … I pray she can get released, this is torture,” one person commented.
“This is a disgraceful act of utter cruelty and neglect,” another wrote.
The foundation was calling for the animal’s release to stop it suffering.