Shocking images of emaciated elephant forced to perform in Sri Lanka festival sparks outrage

Shocking images have emerged of an emaciated elephant reportedly forced to take part in an annual festival in Sri Lanka.

Shocking images of emaciated elephant forced to perform in Sri Lanka festival sparks outrage

Shocking images have emerged of an emaciated elephant reportedly forced to take part in an annual festival in Sri Lanka.

The Save Elephant Foundation posted the image of 70-year-old Tikiri, with hollow cheeks and the outline of her bones visible through her skin.

According to the charity, Tikiri is one of 60 elephants who worked in the Perahera Festival this year.

The Perahera Festival is a ten day festival that takes place in July and August and is known as The Festival of the Tooth and pays homage to the Sacred Tooth Relic of Lord Buddha.

Picture: Save Elephant Foundation
Picture: Save Elephant Foundation

As part of the festival, elephants are adorned with lavish garments.

Charity founder Lek Chailert said: "Tikiri joins the parade early every evening until late at night every night for ten consecutive nights, admist the noise, the fireworks and smoke.

"She walks many kilometres every night so that people will feel blessed during the ceremony. No one sees her bony body or her weakened condition because of her costume.

"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."

Ms Chailert added that all have a right to their beliefs, so long as that belief does not harm or disturb another.

Ms Chailert said: "We cannot bring a peaceful world to the elephant if we still think that this image is acceptable."

Save Elephant Foundation
Save Elephant Foundation

Save the Elephant Foundation are awaiting more information on the elephant's condition.

The images have prompted the creation of an online petition on Change.org to "save Tikiri from barbaric abuse". The petition has amassed more than 10,000 signatures since its creation three days ago.

According to The Metro, the Sacred Tooth Relic said the festival "always care about the animals" and confirmed she had been seen by a medical professional.

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