By Gage Simpson
Writer, New Horizon Media
25 September 2019
An emancipated elephant died a month after being forced to perform for multiple days in an annual parade wearing heavy costumes. Tikiri was one of 60 elephants who marched in the Perahera festival in Kandy, Sri Lanka. The festival is very popular among tourists. The 70 year old elephant’s condition was not immediately known by onlookers due to her elaborate costume, but it became clearer after images were released by Save the Elephant foundation, which show the elderly elephant collapsed on the ground and another image of a skeletal elephant being poked with a stick by her owner in August.
Authorities removed the elephant from the parade shortly after the Save the Elephant images were released, and an investigation was opened but no outcomes were made public from it. A spokesman from Sacred Tooth Relic Temple said that the elephant was suffering from a “digestive ailment,” which they claimed caused the elephant to not gain weight but did not affect her strength or energy.
Save the Elephant claims the elephant was mistreated and malnourished. The animal rights group PETA is using the event to highlight the need for better enforcement of Sri Lanka’s animal protection laws to prevent further mistreatment and abuse of elephants in the country.
Roberts, Joe. (Septmenber 2019). Emaciated elderly elephant dies after ‘70 years a slave’. Metro News. The United Kingdom. https://metro.co.uk/2019/09/24/emaciated-elderly-elephant-dies-70-years-slave-10799109/
Staff Writer. (September 2019). Skeletal elephant dies in Sri Lanka weeks after parade outcry. JacardaFM. South Africa. https://www.jacarandafm.com/news/news/skeletal-elephant-dies-sri-lanka-weeks-after-parade-outcry/ Staff Writer. (September 2019). Sri Lankan elephant Tikiri forced to perform in parades dies. BBC. The United Kindgom. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-49821415