The news out of Sri Lanka is sure to bring a tear to your eye. A photo has been released showing a malnourished elephant that was forced to march through the streets of the city.
The elephant’s name is Tikiri and you can see her dressed up in a colorful robe while a man rides on her back. The elephant was forced to repeat this display for 10 nights in a row.
When you first look at the pictures, you might not realize how emancipated the elephant underneath the robe is.
According to the founder of Save Elephant Foundation, Lek Chailert, Tikiri is forced to take part in this Buddhist festival along with 60 other elephants. The festival, Esala Perahera, takes place in Kandy, Sri Lanka on an annual basis.
Tikiri is forced to march through the streets, shackled with fireworks going off in the nearby area. There is also a lot of smoke that the animals must contend with.
Ms. Chailert says: “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.
“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.”
This isn’t an issue with how some people express their faith, the head of the charity says that she doesn’t want to see the happiness and welfare of the animals compromised.
She said: “For a ceremony, all have the right to belief 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.”
Ms Chailert said: “To love, to do no harm, to follow a path of kindness and compassion, this is the Way of Buddha. It is time to follow.”
A spokesperson for the temple told the Metro that they ‘always care about the animals’ and claimed Tikiri had been seen by an elephant doctor.
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