Elderly skeletal elephant spared Sri Lanka parade
A skeletal 70-year-old elephant has been withdrawn from a high-profile annual Buddhist pageant in Sri Lanka following a social media firestorm against parading the feeble animal.
The chief custodian of the Temple of the Tooth — which organises the event — Pradeep Nilanga Dela said Tikiri would not be part of Wednesday’s grand finale, involving dozens of jumbos.
Dela said the elephant’s “medical condition” meant her owners told him she would not be part of Kandy city’s parade and told AFP by telephone, “Tikiri is being treated.”
Animal-lovers lambasted the authorities for forcing the aged animal to parade several kilometers (miles) wearing elaborate clothing at the hugely popular night festival.
Asian elephant expert Jayantha Jayewardene described the animal’s treatment as inhumane.
“Obviously the animal is severely under-nourished, it is close to death”, Jayewardene told AFP.
“Owners parade their elephants to gain merit for themselves and not for the animal. This should never have been allowed,” he said, adding he was relieved she would not be paraded.
Lek Chailert, the founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, said on social media that spectators do not realise how weak Tikiri was because she was covered in an elaborate costume.
“No one sees her bony body or her weakened condition, because of her costume,” Chailert said. “No one sees the tears in her eyes, injured by the bright lights that decorate her mask, no one sees her difficulty to step as her legs are short shackled while she walks.”
The Temple of the Tooth, Buddhism’s holiest shrine on the island, holds the annual festival with traditional drummers and dancers as well as nearly 100 tamed elephants.
Many rich Sri Lankans keep elephants as pets, but there have been numerous complaints of ill treatment and cruelty.
This makes me physically sick. Please retire this deserving elephant to a reputable sanctuary. I honestly don’t understand how the owners can live with themselves.
Noanimal should be subjected to this abuse. This is an old elephant who is starving to death and she should be fed soft foods.
If I am not mistaken, the elderly elephant has been WITHDRAWN from the parade due to her fraile condition.
The fact that this article has attracted so much attention is reassuring to those of us concerned about animal welfare.
I sincerely hope that attention will also be turned to the inhumane sport of bullfighting in Spain, where swords are plunged into the bull’s body amongst rapturous applause of the cheering crowds!
This is cruelty and has to stop!!!
Perahera is Sri Lanka’s Pride.
Read the real story carefully, that elephant only used one day to follow a ritual.
Those who jump might required Robot Elephants to be in the parade.
Yes but this Elephant is 70 years old weak and sick , how does that work
Where on earth is the compassion and kindness and humanity towards this ailing frail Elephant that clearly should be retired and safe in a sanctuary
This poor animal needs urgent medical treatment and retiring to a snactuary, when is this going to happen?