Starving 70-year-old elephant collapses from exhaustion after Sri Lankan festival

Starving 70-year-old elephant collapses from exhaustion after Sri Lankan festival

A heartbreaking image showing a malnourished 70-year-old elephant that had collapsed has been making the rounds on social media.

The photo, which was first published as a Facebook post from Save Elephant Foundation, claims that the animal had collapsed after being forced to parade for miles every night as part of a Sri Lankan festival. "Please pray for her. It is too tiring for her to walk and work. Look at this poor old girl who has fallen down and the whole world can see her," read the caption.

"We can not just let it go silent. Time to stand up and take action to protect the others who still suffer and are waiting for our voice," the charity added. 

Pictures of the elephant, called Tikiri, were first seen earlier this week as animal rights groups took to social media to condemn the fact that she had been dressed in a colourful robe to hide her emaciated body.

The animal had reportedly been forced to march through the streets in the Sri Lankan city of Kandy. Activists from the Save Elephant Foundation have alleged that the animal was compelled to perform for 10 consecutive nights, while dressed in the ornate costume, and being ridden by a local man. 

Now, it appears that Tikiri may have given up.

Per the founder of Save Elephant Foundation, Lek Chailert, Tikiri is one of around 60 elephants who have been forced to take part in the Esala Perahera, a Buddhist festival in Kandy, Sri Lanka

"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 claimed. 

"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."

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Chailert clarified that she has no problem with people celebrating their faith, as long as it doesn't affect the welfare of the animals who take part.

"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," she concluded.