Earlier this year, it’s been revealed by an animal rights group that an emaciated elephant that was forced to participate in a temple in Sri Lanka ceremonies died.
The elephant named Tikri was one of the 60 elephants forced to march on the annual Esala Perahera festival.
A backlash happened recently after the Save Elephant Foundation released photos of the elephant’s weakened and tired body.
The Sad Life of the Emaciated Elephant
The owners of Tikri covered the weakened body with a parade costume. The elephant was also photographed on the floor, lying after collapsing from torture. The founder of SEF, Lek Chailert, confirmed the passing of the elephant in a post on Instagram.
‘We’re grieving, but we’re also relieved. Hard service was her life, not freedom. Her fear, anger, and sorrow came to an end, she’s finally free. No one can harm her anymore.’
In August, he shared the images of the tortured elephant and wrote that Tikri is sick and old and weak. He was asking why were both her front and back legs tied and emphasized she deserved better, a more humane treatment.
When she was alive, Tikri joined in the parade every evening until late at night for 10 nights in a row. She was amongst noise, smoke, and fireworks. She also walked a lot of kilometers every night for the visitors to feel blessed during the ceremony.
But, what no one saw was her bony body and weak condition underneath the costume.
Chailert also questioned the intentions of the religious beliefs and festivals. He emphasizes that this couldn’t be called a holy ceremony if lives are being harmed.
No one, he further adds, sees the tears in their eyes injured by the lights on their masks and the difficulty they experience walking due to their shackled legs.
A spokesperson from the temple said that the owner of the elephant specifically requested that the elephant is included in the ceremony.
There’s an ancient belief that the worship to gods by weak elephants has healing powers. The owner therefore believed that her participation in the ceremony may help heal her.
And, they explain that the request was accepted and she was examined and proven fit for the streets.