By John Vibes / Truth Theory
Disturbing images have surfaced, showing a famished elephant on display at a Sri Lankan festival. The images show the elephant covered with a costume to hide its old and bony frame. The elephant was reportedly named Tikiri and is said to be at least 70-years-old.
The photos were initially shared by an animal charity group from Asia called the “Save Elephant Foundation.”
The foundation urged its followers to write Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, and demand an “end this cruelty.”
“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 in their online post.
The elephant was even shackled for the duration of the festival, despite its desperate condition.
“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,” the post continued.
According to The Sun, Tikiri was initially from the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy and taken to be paraded around during the Perahera Festival. This is one of the oldest Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka, which lasts through July and August.
A spokesperson for the Sacred Tooth Relic, a Buddhist temple, told Metro that the animals are always taken care of during these types of festivals. The spokesperson added that a vet has seen Tikiri, but did not give any other details about the animal’s condition.
According to the World Wildlife Foundation, Asian elephant numbers have dropped by at least 50% over the last three generations, and they are still in decline today. It is estimated that there are only 40,000-50,000 left in the wild, and the species is classified as endangered.