70-Year-Old Elephant Forced To Starve And Parade Every Night For People To Feel "Blessed"
This is Tikiri, a 70-year-old ailing female elephant
According to Save Elephant Foundation, she is one of 60 elephants who must work in the service of the Perahera Festival in Sri Lanka this year.
"Tikiri joins in the parade early every evening until late at night every night for ten consecutive nights, amidst the noise, the fireworks, and smoke. She walks many kilometres every night so that people will feel blessed during the ceremony," Lek Chailert, founder of Save Elephant Foundation, posted to Facebook earlier this week.
However, Tikiri's handlers keep her starving and frail body hidden
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," the group wrote, calling on tourists in Sri Lanka to boycott elephant attractions.
According to CNN, the Perahera festival in Sri Lanka is an annual Buddhist festival in which performers and elephants are often adorned in elaborate costumes.
Lek Chailert's foundation, which is based in Thailand and provides care to captive elephants in the region, is now urging people to write to the prime minister of Sri Lanka to ask him to intervene
"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 to suffer?
"At this stage, we are asking people to lobby the Sri Lankan government to take immediate action," CNN reported the Save Elephant Foundation as saying.
Meanwhile, a petition titled "Save Tikiiri from barbaric abuse" and addressed to the country's leader has gained more than 17,000 signatures as of this writing.