Why the body of the hungry elephant is hidden by the festival costume

Shocking images of an elephant so malnourished its ribs can be seen through its skin reveal the suffering that majestic animals endure just to entertain humans, activists say.

The Save Elephant Foundation has released photographs of 70-year-old Asian elephant Tikiiri, one of 60 people working at the annual Esala Perahera festival in Kandy, Sri Lanka.

The pictures show Tikiiri without an elaborate costume. (Facebook: Save Elephant Foundation)

Images show Tikiiri without the elaborate and colorful costume she is draped in as she parades during the Buddhist festival, which lasts 10 days each year and features dancers, jugglers, musicians, fire eaters and decorated elephants.

“Tikiri joins the parade from early nightly until late at night every night for ten consecutive nights, amid the noise, fireworks and smoke,” the foundation said in a Facebook post. .

“She walks many miles each night to make people feel blessed during the ceremony.

“No one sees his bony body or his weakened state, because of his costume.

The 'Save Elephant Foundation' alleges that the costume hides her malnourished body.
The ‘Save Elephant Foundation’ alleges that the costume hides her malnourished body. (Facebook: Save Elephant Foundation)

“No one sees the tears in her eyes, hurt by the bright lights that decorate her mask, no one sees her difficulty walking because her legs are hampered as she walks.”

The post sparked calls for the elephant’s rescue.

Tikiiri is a 70 year old Asian elephant.
Tikiiri is a 70 year old Asian elephant. (Facebook: Save Elephant Foundation)

A member of the public wrote: “Someone who is able to give peace, kindness and care to this beautiful elephant in its last days, please act quickly and responsibly.”

Another said: “It’s a scandal! No living creature should be subjected to this type of abuse, especially our intelligent and peaceful elephants! May someone save Tikiri and let her live the rest of her life in comfort and surrounded by kindness! “

The Metro reports that a spokesperson for the Sacred Tooth Relic, a Buddhist temple that hosts the festival, said they “always care about animals.”

They claim that a vet saw Tikiiri.


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Gerald R. Schneider

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