A picture of an elephant, tired and collapsed, identified as 70-year-old named Tikiiri is breaking the hearts of the social media users. The image floored online after a local activist from Sri Lanka reported the elephant’s health condition with pictures showing the starving Tikiiri, forced to march for tourist in a Buddhist Festival. However, it did not stop the localities from making the animal walk miles every night in the name of religion. This recent picture of Tikiiri is raising concerns over animal abuse. It turns out that, Tikiiri was one of around 60 elephants that march through the streets for the Sri Lankan annual Buddhist festival, Esala Perahera. Elephant Celebrates Five Years of Freedom From Captivity With a Customised Cake!
The Kandy Esala Perahera, also known as The Festival of the Tooth is a popular celebration in the country which is held in July and August every year. The festivity includes elephants adorned with lavish garments. The starving elephant’s body hidden behind the costume came to light when Lek Chailert, founder of the Save Elephant Foundation in northern Thailand, shared photos of her.
See Viral Pic of Tikiiri:
There is a growing movement in Sri Lanka striving to stop the elephants being used in the festival, as reported by Metro. As the pictures of Tikiiri were going viral, a temple spokesperson claimed that the elephant’s owner had “specifically requested” her participation in the festival. There is a traditional belief that such religious offerings can cure weak animals. “Taking into account the great service performed by Tikiri to the Esala procession, the request was accepted in terms that she is proved to be fit to take the streets after a thorough examination. Given that Tikiri was proved to be fit, she was allowed to take part in a few processions,” they said in the same report.
Viral Pic of Tikiiri Collapsed:
But the above latest picture shared by the same Facebook page, contradicts the temple’s claim. It was further reported that the elephants are being beaten with sticks by cruel keepers. They try to avoid whipping, but their legs are chained to a post, which prevents the animals from escaping.