Photos of a malnourished elephant that is being forced to walk in long parades in Sri Lanka were shared with the public by a charity.
Tikiri, a malnourished elephant in Sri Lanka, could be seen in the picture above.
The image shows the malnourished elephant dressed up in a colorful robe while a man rides on her back during long parades in Sri Lanka.
The parades happen every day for 10 straight days.
When Tikiri wears a robe, you can barely tell that she is malnourished, but as soon as they removed the robe, you can see how malnourished she is.
According to Lek Chailert, the founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, Tikiri is only one of the 60 elephants that are being forced to join in the Esala Perahera.
The Esala Perahera is a Buddhist Festival that is celebrated in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
According to Esala, Tikiri and other elephants are shackled and are forced to walk in noisy environments that are full of smoke.
During an interview, she said, “Tikiri joins in the parade early every evening until late at night every night for 10 consecutive nights, amidst the noise, the fireworks, and smoke. She walks many kilometers 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.”
She added, “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 Save Elephant Foundation says they do not have any problem with people celebrating the festival, as long as they don’t misuse animals and make them suffer.
Esala continued, “For a ceremony, all have the right to believe as long as that belief does not disturb or harm another. How can we call this a blessing, or something holy, if we make other lives suffer? Today is World Elephant Day. We cannot bring a peaceful world to the elephant if we still think that this image is acceptable.”
The Sacred Tooth Relic, which is the Buddhist Temple in Sri Lanka that hosts the festival, is yet to release a comment about the pictures.